A church bulletin contained a brief article that caught my eye. It was a poem entitled "Mothers Are Gardeners." Oh, great news for me, I thought, I've killed pretty much every plant I've ever owned, except for the silk ones, and some of them don't look so hot, either! Anything that takes consistency, patience, and careful tending is too difficult for me.
Being a good parent requires planting the seeds of love in my children , trying to remember to water them regularly--but not too much; making sure they get enough sunlight--but not too much; adding in extra nutrients--but not too much. As their mother, I watched them grow and adapt wherever they were placed, and with a mixture of excitement and concern. I helped with re-potting them when their roots had grown too big for their containers. And I am still tending them, but not as much, because they have strong roots and sturdy branches, so they will withstand the storms of life.
My relationships with my children were carefully cultivated over the years. My heart warms when I think about all those purposefully arranged meetings, like Taco Tuesdays and Whopper Wednesdays, and of course, Curly Fries for Clint, and a Deluxe Potato with Everything on the Side for Autumn.
At the time, spending thirty minutes to an hour together didn't seem like much, but layered over time, they have produced a mountain of memories and shared experiences.
There were lunches that I took to school for Autumn (from my restaurant, the Cozy Kitchen in Neillsville)..with her friends jealous that she got delivery from a restaurant! There were the lunches with Clint, first at Jr. High, then High School, then just visits when I'd stop to buy gas from the Cenex station where he worked. As he got older, we'd meet during his workday, for lunch or breakfast, when he worked for Charter Communications, and mostly lunches during the year that he worked as a Communications intern at the Marshfield Clinic.
There were trips to Mosinee to take Autumn to school, and trips to Mosinee to pick her up again, stopping at MacDonald's on the way back to see her friends who worked there. We loved the free cookies! And there were trips to her old job, at "Nice As New," and to her new job, at "Old Navy." She thinks I just like to shop, but the truth is, I only went to these places to see her. I loved seeing her superior customer service! The shopping was just a ruse.
As my two children have grown, becoming more and more independent, I cherish the phone calls and visits we have. (This story was originally written in February, 2006, so for 2016, so I'll have to had "texts" and "Facebook Posts.") Hearing their thoughts, their fears, their joys, their frustrations, their greatest dreams, and their deepest hurts, I am so privileged that they are willing to share themselves so completely with me. They add beauty and life to the world that others can enjoy, too. They have blossomed into adults whose characters I respect and admire.
Perhaps I'm not such a bad gardener after all.