Thursday, June 29, 2017

baby plants, baby people

Any posts I put together in the near future are very likely to revolve around my garden.  I've dubbed it my 4th baby for the summer (although maybe we should call it my 5th, because I always said that our Ithaca house was my first baby).

I never had a particularly green thumb before, although I think that was more for lack of attention (so many other projects!) and so there may have been some discussions in our house this spring as to whether or not I'd actually follow-through with weeding and watering and whatnot if we build the beds.

If anything kills my garden this year, it's not going to be neglect.  (Actually, the biggest problem I had so far was seeds that didn't sprout due to too much love, err, water).

The gardening season has coincided nicely with the development of Peter's reliable evening sleep habits, as well as with the girls new no-nap-early-bedtime schedule, and so I have a nice little chunk of time to spend outside.  It's incredibly peaceful to be able to do a task with painstaking attention and without interruption.

There are disappointments, of course, like the aforementioned packets of seeds that didn't materialize because I flooded them.  Or Tuesday evening when I discovered that our neighbor's cat(s) decided my fledgling zinnas patch was the best place to go to the bathroom.

But mostly I just wonder at the miracles God created (it's really amazing, isn't it - what grows from dirt?!) and breathe deeply and appreciate that I'm able to see relatively quick results at what love will grow.

Gardening isn't all that different from parenting, in the sense that "everything grows with love" (I saw a t-shirt with a cactus and that phrase before and thought it was brilliant and hilarious).  People (especially little ones) need someone to pay attention to how much water they've had to drink and whether or not they're overwhelmed by the sun or if someone is totally crowding out their space.  And grown-ups and kids alike thrive on love.

I am discovering that the behavior and mood of certain children of mine are particularly  PARTICULARLY sensitive to their sleeping and eating needs. (At which point I'm sure Justin would point out that apples don't fall far from mother tree...)  And yet sometimes, even when I think they've been pretty well rested and pretty well fed, there can still be an afternoon of tantrums.

I can only do so much, and it's an illusion that I could control every single factor to keep my (human and plant) babies growing perfectly.  My evenings of careful transplanting into straight little rows is balm for my soul after crazy days, but there's still the weather and the animals and the bugs and the mold to remind me that I'm not really in charge, and how much I depend on God to even open my eyes.  But He has given us the beautiful opportunity to cooperate with His grace, to nurture what He has given to us.

It's rewarding to see the results of love poured out in time and attention.  Less obviously in children, given that their seed-to-bloom time is a marathon and not a single summer.  But I'll keep digging away, day after day, watering, pruning, loving, appreciating.  What a wondrous gift we have to love things into bloom.


I'm not sure that this reflection is entirely coherent, but it was on my mind as I gardened this evening.  One of my other musings (and potential next post) is about doing something towards a goal instead of waiting until it can be perfect, so I'm going to apply that to this blog and hit publish!  Thanks for your kind response thus far to this reintroduction, and please know that your comments are so very much appreciated and inspire me to keep writing.


One last thought, I recently discovered the blog Better than Eden and was particularly moved by her post "When I'm hurting, draw me closer."  It's at least tangentially related to this post, or perhaps it's just on my mind because it's something I wish I had done better during the latest round of tantrums today, but I think it's worth a read!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Here we go again

A few things have happened recently.

(Well, between my last regular posts and now, a lot of things have happened.  Including a whole new, wonderful person who was added to our family.  But I digress).

Specifically, recently, a few things have happened:

1) I've been doing projects.  Things ground to a halt when I found out I was pregnant 18 months ago.  Since Peter's birth in September, I've had fits and starts of normalcy, but for the most part we've been thrown continually back into survival mode, especially by ear infections.  It doesn't take much to upset our (my?) equilibrium and routine for 3 kids four and under, but the unrelentless cycles of sickness really made it tough to find our normal.  15 doses of antibiotics and one ear surgery later, things are finally looking up.  Poor Julia is not in pain. We're all sleeping,  And I've got dirt and paint under my fingernails.

2) I read through my blog archives.  A few nights ago, I randomly decided to read some old posts, and ended up spending more than an hour laughing and crying myself through the memories.  I had forgotten how much I had captured, and was amazed by how little of it I would have remembered if it wasn't saved electronically.

My day-in-the-life post from November 2014 hit me hard:

"A few minutes later, I found myself basking in just how precious Anna was - I had called her a silly goose, and she said "nooo!  I'm Anna Rose, Mommy!" and she leaned her head on the door frame and looked at me with her big beautiful eyes and started singing "Rock-a-bye, Anna Rose."  And in that moment, I felt a great loss for how many of these beautiful moments that I cannot adequately capture or remember.  Over the course of the day, she makes me laugh and smile over and over again with her hilarious and sweet comments, and by the time Justin gets home I'm lucky if I can think of even one of them to tell him, and even then, the retelling is never as sweet as her little voice or her little head tilt.  I wish I had a constant video camera stream to replay all of those moments - for my own sake and for sharing, too."

3) I was honored to give advice to a mom-to-be.  A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me to share an inspirational message at a baby shower for a friend.  I was shocked and surprised at the invitation.  Even though the friend herself had asked privately for advice on pregnancy and motherhood, I couldn't believe when her mother asked me to speak at the shower and share my thoughts more publicly.  I still feel unworthy of the task, especially since I gave my talk to a room full of mothers with decades more experience than I.  Nonetheless, it got me to thinking....

And in reading this post, can you guess where all those things led?  Back here to Finding Former Glory.

My life is more hectic these days, and there are exponentially more sweet moments for me to forget.  More sadly, some days I think I'm too busy to notice, let alone remember.  I don't want these years to slip away.  And not just the adorable toddler comments, but my thoughts on motherhood.  My challenges and joys.

Sure, I could start a journal, but I've always been better with external motivations.  Maybe, just maybe, there are some friends out there for whom my ramblings are helpful.

And there will at least be projects (and adorable children) for photo fodder.