Kindness that Blooms

Essay by Elyanor Adnane
Adnane, Elyanor. Mama’s Garden. 17 April 2016. Artist’s Personal Collection.

This story is called Kindness that blooms. Tulips bounce upon the breeze, joyously embracing the new seedlings that will sprout once more when they are no longer. Sunflowers dance, shimmying from side to side, as the cloud above showers them with love. Daisies deliver the invitation of warmth, luring you in with colors that seep into the soul. Kindness is more than just a gesture. It can run as rampant as a pandemic, spreading throughout the veins that circulate who you are. And no, it’s not genetic or “something you’re born with,” it’s simply about those and what you surround yourself with.

Now, picture yourself purchasing a seed. Was it for a particular flower? Tree? Maybe even for some type of herb or bush? Well, it doesn’t really matter what type you bought because each plant holds its own charm. As long as you put enough effort and shower it with the essentials — it will manifest on its own.

For me, kindness has always been my sanctuary, my garden. I realized this when I took a closer look upon my mother. Her gentle smile is accompanied by the wrinkles that grace upon the ends of her eyelids. The single creases remind others of the sacrifices she’s made for her loved ones. Growing up, I don’t think there was ever a major event that made me realize the true nature of my mother. It was her instinct to share warmth that grazed my palm and soft pecks across my cheeks. Everything she did was translated to love and how much she cared for me. By leaving her family behind, putting her job on hold, and restarting life from scratch in the United States, all of this to provide my brothers and I with opportunities that allow us to thrive today. I didn’t realize what was on the line then, and how willing she was to just let go of a life she had built up for over thirty years.

Around the summer of 2014, my mother sustained an injury that left her bedridden for a period of time. I was thrown into a panic, internally, since I was the only one at home. What am I supposed to do if the person that helps me function every day is incapable of even moving without wincing in pain? Immediately, I became her beckon call. I cooked her meals, did her chores, kept her roses alive, and made sure she focused on healing. Slowly seeing her recover sparked joy in me, like my efforts actually paid off. I didn’t think what I did was a big deal at all, it was my own instinct to nurse my mother back to health, but to her it was. She often loves telling this story to her sisters, revealing how much of an impact it had on her. When I heard her having this conversation, I thought to myself, but you do this all the time, how is what I did any different?

I believe that my mother was the first one that ever tended to my garden, planting my first seeds of kindness. Her hands tend to every need, treating all with care. I was fortunate enough to have a mother that took care of my seed, but I think everyone has their own special seed of kindness. It just takes the right environment to allow your garden to flourish.