Tag Archives: Pay it forward


When I was growing up, Mom, you always had plants started in jars, lining window ledges, peeking around books and knick-knacks on shelves. You grew basil, oregano, dill, and rosemary on the kitchen window ledges, and you grew African Violets from teeny-tiny seeds under grow lights. When someone was in the hospital or in need a thinking-of-you visit—and you had an uncanny way of knowing who needed some TLC–you tied a ribbon around pink or purple or white violets and delivered them with a hug.

Recently I discovered a wonderful new plant. The mouthful name is Kalanchoe daigremontiana, but it’s the nickname that captured my imagination: Mother of Thousands Plant. Originally from Madagascar, the succulent produces thousands of “baby” plants along the edges of its leaves (click on the plant pictures below for close ups). When the baby buds drop off the leaves, wherever they land they start new plants.  Very mature plants with tall stems will occasionally produce exotic red and purple blossoms.

Even though you never had Mother of Thousands plants around the house, this is the plant that makes me think of you. Everything you’ve done throughout your life, Mom—however private or public—made a difference in the lives of others. Neighbors, employees, children, teens and adults, all blossomed because of your kindness, your compassion, your listening ear, and mugs of herbal tea served with snickerdoodle cookies. I’ve seen the smiling, relaxed people who left your kitchen table, Mom, and I like to think that they each went on to share that with others. Paying it forward is the current expression for what they did; indirectly, that made you the Mother of Thousands of better moments in others’ lives.

Before David and I were born, you suffered four miscarriages. Maybe that’s why children have always been infinitely precious to you, Mom, but you were equally kind and supportive of all ages.  Each good deed dropped seeds that took hold, and from there more goodness was spread. In your 94 years, I imagine you improving much of the world.

You really are a Mother of Thousands, and I’m grateful that you’re my mom.

Love, Marylin                                                                 


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, gardening, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren