Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Beg Your Pardon

I know, he never promised me a rose garden, but I kind of have one anyway. Not one like my friend Joye’s that gets TLC on a consistent basis, but mine gets watered and fed, and cut back to provide new blooms every few weeks, and sprayed if I remember to remind Walker.

Today, the weather turned a bit cooler, although the humidity is so high that I’d almost rather have the 100° heat that we usually expect in July without the humidity. We had some help today. Our friend, Mr. Freeman who landed on our doorstep looking for work two weeks after arriving from Africa almost nine years ago, came to help Walker, my husband, not my son, who doesn’t do outdoor labor, do some heavy digging out front in preparation for replanting in August.

I headed out back to do one of my least favorite tasks, cutting back the impatience and other flowers. A few years ago, I learned from our newspaper that doing this would mean a fresh flush of flowering plants in August. It has worked for me in the past, but it really takes a leap of faith on my part to lop off the heads of plants that are looking pretty good, even if a bit bug gnawed, and trust that they'll look presentable again before too long.

I have enjoyed a few weeks off from planting and fertilizing and have just pulled a stray weed here and there for a while. If I stick with it and finish the trimming today, I can go back to that for a month or so, just keeping things tidy, or as tidy as I am capable of, and have an abundance of beauty in a few weeks.

My garden chores and some inside organizing, inspired by visiting the MOST organized house imaginable last week, serve to remind me that we can’t just sit back and enjoy what we’ve created. We have to keep working at it, or the forces of nature will end our enjoyment by destroying all our hard work. It’s the same whether it’s gardening or exercise or housekeeping or child rearing or making and maintaining friendships. Sometimes doing the hard stuff isn’t fun at all, but the rewards of even minimal effort can be great.

I am realizing more and more that the life stages I learned about in grad school are truly a birth to death proposition. I can stand back and see the people I love hitting the predictable tough spots, and as I do the same thing, I can relax, knowing that there will be smoother times ahead after the rough ones. The litle ones will go from being tyrant toddlers to civilized school children to independent adults. We older ones will face various challenges, but we'll learn to accept that change is necessary for growth.

I hope I'll get better at maintaining the things I treasure, especially my family relationships and my friendships. I hope I'll be brave when it's time to do some more lopping off.


P. S. If you happened on this blog looking for Down Syndrome or Special Needs articles, please read some previous posts. I'll resume on that track before too long.

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