Reflections on motherhood

Raising children is its own reward

What she usually got was a family barbecue that she prepared and then cleaned up afterward.

"Same thing as I always did," Tidwell said.

But she said her husband was good with the kids, and took them shopping for cards and gifts as well. On one memorable Mother's Day, the kids made her breakfast in bed. Her oldest child was eight at the time. Dad played a hands-off role, Tidwell said. He just made sure no one burned the house down.

The breakfast fare was tar-like coffee and pancakes fashioned out of nearly every ingredient in the kitchen.

"I didn't tell them that, though," Tidwell said, sitting at a picnic table, watching her granddaughter play at City Park on Friday.

Her children are in their teens and twenties now, and they've brought more grown-up gifts. A couple years ago, Tidwell got a ring for Mother's Day

The good fight

Across town, January Zulian, Ashley Mitchell and Ronica Newkirk tended to their babies, who were laying on a trampoline on a sunny afternoon. The three newcomers to motherhood described it as a beautiful, frightening full-time job.

"There's not a prouder moment than that first report card, those first steps and words," said Zulian, mother of 5-year-old and 9-month-old girls.

Mitchell called motherhood the most fun thing she's ever had to do. But she said it gave her new respect for what her own mother did.

"We're the ones who are on call," Newkirk said, as her 4-year-old son, Brian, climbed on her back and dove off onto the trampoline. "You are the jungle gym, you are the everything."

The mothers played peek-a-boo. They pulled the children from the precarious edges of the trampoline, wiped their faces clean and gave hugs and kisses.

"I think they're little miracles," Mitchell said.

"I think Mother's Day is like Veterans Day or Memorial Day," Zulian said. "We fight the good fight every day."

Flowers always popular

Sons and daughters are gearing up for the celebration of their mothers, and businesses are scrambling to keep up. Erma Ozbun was busy stocking cards at City Market. The staffs at restaurants were already predicting Sunday would be busy with families wanting to treat their moms.

At The Flower Mine, the shop was bustling with customers who picked out arrangements for their mothers. The all-mother staff was taking orders, filling pots and vases with all kinds of flowers and greenery.

"We have to bring in the whole crew," said Rita Lambert, co-owner of the store.

Lambert said she tries to stock items for all tastes and price ranges. But no matter how diverse the merchandise, "flowers always sell," Lambert said.

Lambert and her partner, Shirley Larrick, said they've seen the holiday grow over the years. Mother's Day is busier every year, Lambert said.

"The male population has actually caught on," Lambert said. "It's really getting to be a bigger holiday."

"We deserve it," Lambert said, bringing a round of laughter from her staff.

"I think that's very true," Larrick said. "A lot of men seem to be thinking more about their mothers."

Jamie Garrett was called in to work the busy days before the holiday. Garrett said it's the shop's second busiest day of the year.

Garrett's son already gave her a plaster handprint. Garrett said her son didn't really get too excited about Mother's Day until this year.

"It was no big deal," Garrett said. "Now he's in first grade and he's really into it."

Behind the shop's showroom, designers Shelley Arias and Diann Otero were helping Lambert and Larrick put together arrangements for Mother's Day and Colorado Northwestern Community College's commencement ceremonies as well as funerals and weddings.

Long-stemmed flowers stood in five-gallon buckets beside containers of ferns, baby's breath, alstromeria lilies and stems full of tiny pink boronia buds.

Across the counter an assortment of glue guns, pliers, wires and tape, and a dozen pairs of scissors were spread out.

The designers reached from bucket to bucket, piecing together the arrangements destined for mothers like themselves.

One year, the shopkeepers secretly assigned one of the designers the task of making her own bouquet. They told her to take her time because the flowers were for an especially picky customer. The designer toiled over the arrangement and then was disheartened after the shop closed and the vase was still in the cooler.

Then Larrick and Lambert handed the woman a card, told her the flowers were her own and wished her a happy Mother's Day.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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