bright ruffled poppies

by Elouise

bright ruffled poppies
dance along the garden wall
bowing and nodding

Here’s to the women in my life who mothered me along the way! You didn’t even know you were doing it. Sometimes I didn’t know, either. I’ll never forget the friend who invited me to a makeup demo. I’ve never been a big makeup fan. It was the devil’s paint when I was growing up–also a sad and sorry sign of being a ‘loose’ woman.

Nonetheless, by the time I got to the seminary as a professor in the early 1980s, I was in dire need of mothering. This little makeup demo was a tiny step that helped give me more confidence than I ever had as a child, teenager, or young adult.

Along with the makeup demo came a little tutorial on colors that would complement my summer beauty! Imagine that…thinking of myself as a ‘summer.’ Even more spectacular, these two little tips became the foundation of everything I wore or gently applied to my face. Colors that actually made me happy to look in the mirror.

Then there was my emotional/physical/spiritual storm during the late 1980s and 1990s. This time it wasn’t about what was on the outside. It was about what was eating me away on the inside. It took a while to get there, but in the early 1990s I met a gifted psychotherapist who actually listened to me and wanted to hear about my life. Without meaning to, she mothered me for decades, and still plays a role in my life. Encouraging me through this last chapter.

I wouldn’t be here at all without my birth mother. She was beautiful on the outside and inside, and her life was fraught from the beginning. Sadly, she never talked much about herself. I think she carried a lot of shame, along with physical pain and the challenge of living with my father for over 60 years. Some of what she wasn’t able to give me, a great host of women have given me in small and large ways. Often when least expected.

For these women, past and present, I’m sending these poppies. Small signs of the beauty to which you introduced me. I see bits and pieces of beauty in life, in nature, in friendships, in myself, and in hard places I thought I would never experience. All because you showed me your beauty from the inside out.

Yesterday afternoon I visited my neighbor’s backyard garden. He had planted a row of oriental poppies against his garden wall. They were magnificent. Hence the haiku and the photos above of gorgeous, crepe-paper-like oriental orange poppies.

Here’s to a Happy Mother’s Day and Year to all Mothers–including those we never expected to cross our paths along the way.


©Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 May 2018
Photos found at