Rain drops pelt the weathered boards planking the deck. I watch them fall, gaining telling momentum before hitting the ground. A blast of fury. Beyond the drenched railing, baby greens soak up moisture, their roots stretching into the earth, grabbing a foothold and learning how to stand up on their own. They are brand new. Emerged from a seed dropped somewhere in the past and nourished by careful incubation provided by the long winter. Bursting forward with a life yet to live. Beautiful, fragile little shoots.
Gray has shifted to a color-wonderful world. Vibrance in hues all glowing. Every sight so welcome, so deeply anticipated. Embraced. Yet so delicate. So small. Easily stunted.
Springtime is a beautiful and foreboding season. Apple blossoms peek-a-boo their lovely petals, tulips return in fully glory. Fresh seedlings spring up in the black dirt. Even the air smells heavy with glossy dew. It’s all so alive. So rejuvenating.
And so the springtime of motherhood. That time when the growth– finally visible–begins to produce something above the ground. Something lovely and promising and good. Their potential so full, but their lives so tender.
Until one day the cold comes back unannounced. The wind does this shift, and thunderclouds build. Fury and rage unleashing their full force on me. Explosions of tears fall from their eyes, some even accompanied by a force so wild and extreme that brings back memories of a season past. And after, that familiar chill hanging in the air. Frost threatening my tendrils, so easily destroyed–set back–by the transition to fairer days.
For the mother, spring requires careful watch. An ability to run out at a moments notice and cover those new lives. Shelter them from a storm they are not yet strong enough for. Make sure they get enough exposure to grow strong without shocking their new roots. Springtime requires diligence. Soil to cultivate, hearts to shore up. Nutrition and water and sunlight. Too little and they’ll shrivel in the dawning of their new independence. Too much and they’ll drown in the overwhelming downpour of life. So I make adjustments. I follow intuition. Unlike the packet of seeds, mine did not come with growing instructions.
I carefully survey their growth. One eye always on the horizon, trying to anticipate the storms to prepare them for what lies ahead. The weeds of adolescence have not yet emerged, but I search for them daily, ready to pull out an unwanted invader. Ready to protect my tiny promises.
This season of motherhood, it’s fickle, wet, and wild. It can turn in an instant and jeopardize the hard work endured for so many long, long months. The springtime of motherhood is when it all hangs in the balance. Will the storm ruin it all, setting me back to day one? Will life outside be warm enough to nurture the growth I can no longer contain? Will this radiant child grow into a thriving individual capable of bearing real fruit?The sun pokes through the clouds, warm rays of light exposing the steam rising from the puddles in the swollen, wet wood. Green is everywhere. And in my garden a shoot pushes up. So long ago I dropped into a hole in the ground, covered and kept it safe, all along wondering if it would work? If it would ever emerge from the darkness under the dirt?
But the thing is, you cannot take the life out of a seed or change what it will mature into. You can only help it to grow.
And so the long awaited springtime of motherhood. Delicate life blooming in my hands.