While out strolling through my garden recently, I made a connection between the feeling I had looking at the status of my flowers, and those I get looking at the status of my mothering.
In the early spring, I planted, weeded, mulched, envisioned the future, and set the garden in motion for my eventual hopes. It looked so small, so delicate and vulnerable. Every day I would tend to my garden, watering, weeding, pruning, picking off bugs, and encouraging my plants to thrive and produce.
As I walk through the garden now, it is huge, blossoms abound, but so does a bit of chaos. Weeds that I missed are huge, and a constant distraction to me. The mulch I placed is hard to even see, as the plants have gotten rather unruly, and are encroaching on each others' space. From a distance, my garden looks terrific, but up close I can see all the areas that need me constantly, and all the potential it still has to be better. My vegetables have lots of blossoms, but not much produce at this time. I must still wait a bit to see if my efforts are going to pay off to a good yield.
And so it is with my children. When the were small, and I had so much more control over their environment, everything was well in hand, and ready for growth to occur. Their needs were constant, and simple, and aimed at the future.
Just like with my garden, I struggled and still do, to enjoy the process, rather that just keeping my eye on the future.
Just like with my garden, I am aware of the fact that a few weeds got past me, and need rooting out.
Just like with my garden, the boundaries that were so neatly placed early in my children's lives are getting fuzzy, and there is more pruning, discipling, and re-ordering needed to achieve the ultimate goal.
My children are in their "middle years", so I have yet to learn if my parenting philosophies will produce good fruit. It's looking promising, but I have to be patient and keep at it, hoping for the best outcome.
It was during one morning spent with my garden that I decided that I am in the "July Phase" of my life. It can be discouraging, daunting, and tiring. Did I make the right decisions? Did I pay enough attention to this area, at the detriment of that one? Am I up to the task of making it all right, and will it really ever be "done"?
But when I step back, my garden is lovely. And so is my family. Making peace with constancy of the demands with the pleasure that is offered on a daily basis is my job now. Overcoming the discouragement and hanging on to hope is my job now. And keeping at it, that is my job always!