The Summer of Motherhood

The air is temperate and warm. Ripe fruit hangs from wild vines. The tops of carrots and onions emerge from below; lettuces, chards, and fresh green thick and tall from recent rain. Lush life hovers. Swarms. Laughs at me. The garden that was once a barren patch of frozen dirt has come into its own. Little seedlings once overwhelmed by a space too large for them now stretch to the sky, reaching beyond the boundaries of the fence, trespassing into the world beyond.

And so the summer of motherhood. That time in which growth is rapid, life is full, and everything is–finally–producing fruit. Rewarding. Generous. Rich. The hovering I did for so long in the early years has finally paid off, producing individuals full of promise. I no longer have to hover. I no longer have to run out at the threat of every storm or cold night to shelter fragile life. They are stronger now and the season less threatening. But the work is still real.

Each one reaches maturity in its own time. Efficient though it might be, children are not a product of a commercial farm. They are not well-suited to bulk, artificial methods of stimulation. They are the heirlooms. The beautiful, unique gifts with personalities and characteristics not found elsewhere. Some simply need more time or different weather or better soil or a little extra attention to reach their fullness.

I have learned so many lessons from this season. The sun is good for growing plants, but too much heat scorches, leaving them wilted from an energy they are not ready to bear. Diligently I monitor their water, careful to provide a drink when it’s needed without rotting their roots. Without drowning their spirits in a flood of my own worry. And some hot days I wait. The leaves may droop but the promise of rain is coming. And rain can give them what I never can. A gentle pouring out of blessing from above, nourishment from a source far greater than me. It may be a thirsty afternoon, but the refreshment coming to them is worth the wait. Worth the character building and reliance upon something outside of themselves.

Sometimes the fruit they bear is beautiful. A picturesque result from the labor of parenting. And sometimes it’s misshapen, despite my best efforts, a form of expression all their own. Loveliness in its own rite. And then there is the heavy-bearer. The one that is so fierce in its growth with fruit so vigorous it requires my support. A stake to lean against. A hand to hold as it matures to fullness. And then there is the spoiled fruit. Those times in which life caught up to me and something went unattended for too long. And there it lays on the ground. All potential lost, a casualty of an imperfect gardener.

The summer of motherhood is a season of amazing joy. The work is intense, keeping up with such a rapid pace, but the reward is incredible. Bounty in full color, overwhelming the small space from which it came. My hands are full of grit and dirt, my brow dripping from the effort of the season but the beauty growing in my home is stunning. The promise of a sweet harvest coming into view.

The Spring of Motherhood

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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.

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The Winter of Motherhood

_MG_5021Peering out the window, I watch the final rays of sunshine fall in long shadows across the naked trees. A lonely leaf drifts to the ground. Signs of life are scarce in this season of chill. The landscape is brittle; the sun hanging lower and lower in the distant horizon every day.

And so the winter of motherhood. Times when the days are short, and the nights are long. Growth slows, inching along at an unwilling pace. Each day looks so much like the last. Everything surrenders in wintertime. Better to rest in the dark, conserving energy until the sun reappears.

In winter, there is no sign that life will return. No indication that things will get better. There is only wind, cold, and darkness biting at the nerves. It is a raw and unforgiving season. One that can drive a person mad. Continue reading