Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Here are some reflections from my trip to see my family.

This trip it was apparent how much my mother’s health has declined. Her walking is very wobbly, along with balance issues and falling lately. It it hard to accept this steady decline in her health, engagement, and aliveness. This makes me ponder my own health, mortality, and life choices, but I’ll save those for another post.

The trip was a mix of visiting, doing projects around the house and yard, and taking mom out. Overall, I had a good time, although I wore myself out and didn’t feel as peppy this year, probably due to summer heat and aging. We both took afternoon rests this year! And we had a few visits and meals with my brother.

The highlight of this trip was a visit to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna Virginia. We both had heard of this garden but never visited. I was surprised that my mother was willing to go in a wheelchair. Although her health and walking aren’t great, she doesn’t use a wheelchair, only a walker at home, and shopping carts when she’s out for support.

The gardens were nice, but nothing special compared to others that I’ve visited. But my mother loved it and that makes me happy. I’m grateful to have this shared experience, especially since I got my love of gardens from mom.

Here are a few photos from the gardens.

With this lake and two smaller ponds, water is a key focus of the gardens. They had water lilies, turtles, geese, and koi.

Mom has never liked having her picture taken!
The geese were a big hit with mom.
There were a lot of turtles in the park with this one crossing the trail in front of us.
Near the visitor center, they have a fairy garden with lots of cute figures and decorations.
Lots of bees and butterflies were enjoying the flowers along with us.

I’m grateful to be able to visit and help mom each year. Living 1200 miles away isn’t easy, especially as her health declines. I have a feeling there won’t be many more trips. I know she appreciates the help, and I like being useful. She has expressed a strong desire to stay in her house until the end, and my brother and I do what we can to help toward that goal. I’m also grateful my brother is more involved in our lives lately. He seems to be placing a higher value on family, and living nearby, he is able to check on mom.

Me, mom, and Rod.

With love and gratitude,



96 thoughts on “Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

  1. Aging parents appreciate the help, they just hate being reminded that they need it. Both my parents are gone now, but I understand your worries about the slow health decline. Clearly she enjoyed the visit! And you totally look like your mom!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a. beautiful, poignant, loving blog post, Brad! Your photographic eye — from glorious landscapes to animal portraits to insect+flower micro-tableaux – is always a delight to share. And yes, “It it hard to accept this steady decline in (one’s parent’s) health, engagement, and aliveness. This makes (all of us) ponder (our own) own health, mortality, and life choices.” I look forward to when you are ready to explore your thoughts and feelings about this deeply human experience in a future blog post. I also love the comments that your blog post has inspired. I, too, like seeing the family resemblances in your photos with. your mother and brother. What a blessing that he is willing to share responsibility for helping your mother! Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

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  3. I love your up close and personal look at the garden, and loved more how you have in many ways connected it to your life. I so respect you and your brother for making sure her wishes are granted ( for as long as you can.).

    Today is the day you are making memories….for tomorrow. Well done my friend, Donna

    Happy mama.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What lovely gardens! I love the photos of the goose, turtle and bee. Your mom looks like a sweet flower herself. 🌸 So beautiful to see you and her and your brother together. I agree,
    you resemble each other so much, especially you and your mom. These times you get to share together are precious and I’m so glad you have them. It’s challenging to witness these changes and I understand how it affects the way we navigate our lives. For me, it has increased my experience of knowing what’s truly of value and letting the rest drop away. Dropping into the heart more and cherishing the people in our lives with great presence. I look forward to hearing your personal reflections. Holding you all in heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So nice to see a photo of you with your mother and brother. Beautiful photos capturing memories you will cherish.
    It is tough to watch parents decline in health and mobility. Your mother is fortunate to have you and your brother. Please remember to be as kind to yourself as you are to those you love.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Brad
    I love seeing the pictures! Thank you for sharing!
    I can tell your that mother was happy to have both of you together. The 3 of you look so much alike.
    Like you, this last visit home made me contemplate a lot of my own health and mortality. What should I be doing now to better my chances of a less dependent old age? Well, I know most of the answers and I am still not doing any of it. So, there goes that 😦
    Blessings to you! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Your photos are incredible – and took me there to the beautiful Meadowlark Gardens. Your mom is a beautiful woman. But I understand how she doesn’t want her photo taken. I’m like that at times also. As a child, I kind of felt like the Native Americans who believed that the camera could take a piece of our spirit. But interestingly, when I’m really happy (like around family or a close friend) I notice that my face is beaming. So my spirit is shining that day. I’m sure your mom was beaming inside when she had both her sons with her. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It’s good you’re still able to see and spend time with your mum, even if she’s far away. It’s all precious isn’t it, every moment we spend with those we love. Your photos are gorgeous and no doubt your mum would have loved being in all that gorgeous nature with you. A lovely share Brad. 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Brad, how awesome that you got to create some memories with your mom. Family is so important and moments like the one you have shared with us are very precious. Always great to see what you have been up to! I asolutely love the pics, your photograhy skills are on point.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I could so relate to this post, Brad. Just about everything you said related to your mom, aging, and changing perspectives resonated with me. I think we’re about the same age, and in about the same place with aging parent(s). I’m sooo glad that you got your mom out to the botanical garden. Those experiences are precious. And gorgeous photos as always. I love the close up of the bee. 🙂 Have a lovely day, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beautiful pictures!! You’re mom looked amazing! Family time is so important, take each opportunity and make each moment count. Life is too short for anything else. Thanks for sharing these and a piece of your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nature draws us into itself because it is the ancestral home. It is the vibe that generates good feelings in us for hours at a time. Trees, birds, clouds drifting across skies .

    All these have their place, even in an urban postmodern landscape.

    — Catxman

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Brad, how sweet that you were able to spend time with and help your mom. It does get challenging with aging issues and long distances. Your family photo and garden shots are very nice. Your nature shots reminded me of Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. A wonderful place to visit, when it isn’t 110 degrees outside. 🌞


  14. What a beautiful time you had Brad, mum is beautiful and elegant! and I’m sure she’ll surprise you in her old age. My own mum is a walking miracle, such an example of allowing her faith to keep her as well and happy as possible! You must watch your words and beliefs though when it comes to speaking about your own old age… as you create your reality! You can stay as young, healthy and happy as long as you intend! If you remember reading my book… I’m rejuvenating and going for quite a different old age! AND know 60 is the new 30 if you like! Sending love x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What magnificent pictures. I’m pretty sure this trip in the company of your significant others will be forever cherished in your heart. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s frail health. I wish her all the best. I can relate with your feelings as I am going through a similar situation with my elderly father but in my case he is suffering from dementia. It just breaks my heart as I watch his decline and I’m helpless. Thank you again for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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