Monday, March 15, 2010

Gardening and Parenthood

I am just a beginning gardener. I understand enough to plant a few pansies and petunias and usually remember they need water and weeding periodically. From time to time I admire the beauty my efforts and the universe have nurtured. After an interesting night involving teenagers and late night drives I was working with the dirt and weeds. My thought life rarely misses an opportunity to process events – especially tragic or dramatic ones that cannot be forgotten. The weeds were responding to pulling and it began to look cared for again. Being a parent is like tending a garden. You help your children grow, feed them, try to help get over the hard stuff, move the rocks that impede growth. Sometimes you fertilize, or even transplant to a more suitable area in the garden. My heart was responding to my thoughts when I saw one of my pansy plants – absolutely beautifully in bloom, and yet it had already been pulled out from the roots. It was dying but there was no evidence yet. It looked amazing from the outside, but it had no roots whatsoever. It was no longer part of the garden but sitting on the garden. And clearly I realized I don’t want my kids to look great on the outside and be dying inside. I don’t want them to pretend to be part of the garden when they are not. I want them to be rooted, growing still – even if there are weeds and rocks around them.

You could take this further and become a more proactive gardener – never allowing a weed to tarry in the soil. A gardening goddess….but you can never make them grow more. That is part of who they are….and who they are meant to be. Some plants have a longer life, some bloom when they are young, some bloom when they are older. Some things in the garden will be there providing shelter and nourishment, some will sap the others strength and either take over or be culled. Some plants or trees like my cherry tree are both an astounding blessing and hard to deal with. In July the cherries litter my lawn. The fruit is great but you have to put a lot of effort into getting the fruit picked and keeping it out of the blades of the lawnmower. Some plants take little effort and they reproduce and bloom. An orchid could never grow in my garden because biologically it would not be able to stand it. I think that about children too. Some children could respond to my weeding and water….some would be smothered…others would need more heat. Hats off – maybe on is best – to all fellow gardeners and parents. Our garden has many similarities and many differences. Some of us have more time in the garden, some more desire, and still some love the gardens that spring up naturally – with no care and inherent to the locale. They all have beauty and wisdom to behold.

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