When I was a little girl our yard was lined with forsythia bushes on one side and a large patch of pussy willows on the other. My sweet mama would gather some up in the doldrums of the coldest months and plop them in vases of water scattered about the house. Sometimes she would even include a few branches from the magnolia tree which was so kindly planted the day I was born. Within a few days these beauties would burst into bloom, reminding us that the sun would warm our backs once again.
It is funny to think that when she began doing this, when she was my age with two small babies of her own, she probably felt as lost as I do. Everyday I wonder if I am doing all this parenting stuff right. If I am perhaps screwing these two up so royally they will forever discuss their mother horizontally on a leather chaise lounge to an over payed doctor. Do I yell too much? Do I play with them enough? Do they get enough social interaction? I have the whole mommy guilt, worrying thing down pat.
These days there is a lot of information about exactly how you should parent. There is research done on research proving that every word you say, food you touch, diaper you use, school you choose (or don’t choose), clothing you adorn, show you watch, way they sleep… you name it… is just plain old wrong. Or right. Or both.
It is terribly overwhelming.
But somehow, these small memories of ritual from my youth give me a sense of normalcy that makes me believe its going to work out. I think of my mama, digging in the earth in our front lawn all those years ago. Knowing of roots and stems only from the houseplants she carried from apartment to apartment, and the tomatoes her father dutifully planted each year. Now, thirty years later, it is a legacy of a garden that draws visitors from afar, and for some reason this alone, comforts me.
Here I am deep in the south. This variety of magnolia I marveled at as a child is already past bloom and its only February. But that’s not all that will open in the coming weeks. We will see every hue of the rainbow. It seems I have endless choices of things to gather up and force into bloom indoors around here. So, I started with the pear tree. Its tiny white flowers look like they should be edible; like I should candy them and decorate a cake.
Isn’t that nice? Now quick go try it!
(PS- Don’t put the pussy willows into water, unless you want leaves. But they will remain soft fuzzy little rabbits feet for an indeterminable amount of time just kept in a dry vase.)
4 thoughts on “a floral reminder”
My boys are older than your boys, but they are still exhausting. I still lay down with my little one at night – he’s 7. It is the best after the day is done, after they are asleep, they look like angels.
If I had to pick one parenting guru, it would be Kim John Payne of Simplicity Parenting. I wish he had written his book when my guys were your guys ages. I don’t think he has any answers, as in “this is the right thing!” but he gave me a way of looking at what the heck I was/am doing.
I remember thinking when my 11 year old was an infant that the only thing I want to be able to say to him is “I did what I thought was best at the time.” My definition of what is “best” has changed over the past 11 years, but I have always (well, most days!) trusted my heart. I didn’t want to have to tell him, “Well, I didn’t think that was good, but I read it in a book and every one else was doing it, so I did it too.” If he winds up on that leather chaise, that is OK too!
Motherhood . . . it’s not for the weak!
Wishing you a couple solid hours of sleep and some sweet dreams as well.
oh how i love this book. it was such a relief to rid our home of unwanted toys!! have you seen this blog blissbeyondnaptime.com? i think you would love it. Thank you for your kind words. Its nice to hear positive words from a mama who has been there.
I love that book too, and was just starting to declutter and to figure out how to adapt some of his other ideas on how to simplify things when I became almost bedridden with the worst morning sickness I can imagine. Now at the tail end of a difficult pregnancy I am looking forward to picking up where I so abruptly left off, after getting beyond the crazy newborn days that is. The past 3 years of parenting my first has taught me that everyone else’s opinion is just what they have found works for their family, and doesn’t necessarily apply to mine. The best I can do is to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what I learn and then go with my instincts as to what is best for my family. It also helps to avoid associating to much with harshly critical people who engage in judgemental mommy wars and try to surroundmmyself with people who are kind and thoughtful and not bent on forcing their way of parenting on others.
Your post totally reminded me of the huge lilac bush that grew in our back yard when I was a child. It’s springtime scent was heavenly!
oh mama, there is little that i have felt, that is worse than severe morning sickness. it is heart wrenching to hear you had/have this.. . its debilitating. i am so glad your almost there!! oh, a lilac. so amazing. those are true indicators of spring.