ST. CHARLES – Geneva resident Marcia Dimmitt, a mother of three and grandmother of five, didn't want to spend Mother's Day at a restaurant or in a shopping mall.
Instead, she and her husband, Norlyn Dimmitt, decided to spend a peaceful day outdoors at the Healing Gardens at Stone Hill Farm in St. Charles.
"We like to go to nature preserves and we've learned how to identify flowers," said Norlyn Dimmitt.
"We're gonna see our kids later," Marcia Dimmitt said before walking trails leading to numerous sites, including a rock garden, vegetable garden, wooded areas and a children's garden.
Deb Marqui, a mother and owner of the Healing Gardens in St. Charles, also said that's how she enjoys spending her Mother's Day, only her favorite part is greeting those who stop by. When visitors come, their first stop is typically on Marqui's sun-filled porch to sign in. This year, visitors also received a map of the grounds painted by local artist Kathy McPartland.
"I love to spend my Mother's Day this way," Marqui said, noting that the gardens have been open each Mother's Day since 2005.
The gardens had role in Marqui's healing process as she fought non-Hodgkins lymphoma and breast cancer several years ago. She has been free of non-Hodgkins lymphoma since 1996, which she noted had been a terminal diagnosis, and free of breast cancer since 2002. She said the gardens were very important as she went through what she calls her cancer journey.
"When I was in the garden creating, there wasn't a thought of cancer," she said.
When she wasn't gardening, she said she often worried about the results of a test or what would happen if her cancer ever came back.
"You don't think about that at all when you're in nature," she said. "When you're taking your time and using your five senses, a miracle occurs. You find yourself in the present moment and that's all we have."
Marqui said she considers herself a recovering workaholic. She owned her own business and sometimes wouldn't get home until after dinner. When she switched careers, she said she found herself skipping lunch to take on another client or staying late to finish up some notes.
She said workaholics tend to connect their self-worth to their jobs instead of to who they are as a person. She said her gardens helped her learn how to be, not do, and to stop always trying to be perfect.
"You don't realize that inside, you're good enough. You don't have to prove it," she said. "I got caught up in that web. We don't know how to extricate ourselves or take care of ourselves."
She said that's an especially important message for mothers, who sometimes tend to give of themselves until there's nothing of quality left to give.
Marqui said she encourages people to live in the moment by touching and smelling the flowers at the Healing Gardens.
"That's one of the gifts I'd love to pass on to anybody – learn how to be and take it all in," she said.