Gentle Readers. My emotions have been on my sleeve lately–right . . . there—see them?--next to my heart–so I am typing very carefully here, trying to not cross the line from being your cheery confidant and garden- and chicken-advisor (or whatever the heck I am?) to becoming a sloppy wet feedsack of a cathartic downer. (Now that’s a metaphor that only a farmer-type could coin!)
Here’s the thing: I love change in my life . . . as long as it benefits me enormously and makes me happy. 🙂 But changes that cause me to bawl at the drop of a hat? Not a fan. And there have been lots of changes of every sort at our place lately, but too many of the latter and its ilk. Alas.
Good things and crummy things happen to the lot of us, right?
To. Wit. Already.
Thing One: Bethany graduated from college, summa cum laude and with all the pretty tassels draped around her shoulders that her slender frame could carry. I’m so proud of this lovely young lady who also happens to be my daughter. She is smart and caring and unselfish and kind to a fault. She is in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading, and she can’t say a bad thing about anybody. (Anybody!) It is a wonder to me, that such a sweet girl emerged from my clumsy (though well-intentioned) mothering; that’s just miraculous.
Mamas and Dads, please take comfort and hope from this: it took Bethie a couple years of floundering out of high school, to land on her feet in college. She stumbled through a couple years of indecision and anxiety. She actually had a terrible time. But eventually, she settled where she needed to be: at a small Christian college not far from here, and she proceeded to blossom and grow into the confident young woman that she is today.
She didn’t leave home with that confidence. She had to figure out a number of things first; she had to grow up bunches; and (it’s true) she had to experience a few bumps and slaps from life before she squared her shoulders and realized that she could handle it all. I think she just had to decide that it was okay to be a grown-up.
I’ve lost track of the number of career plans she made, the list of colleges that she applied to and that we went to visit, the plethora of checks that we wrote for college application fees (oiy). The auditions. The essays. The scholarship applications. The trips. The prayerful meetings that she and I held, on the couch, in the garden, at the kitchen sink, on long, long walks along our gravel roads. Just trying to figure things out. Trying to make sense of life, growing up, which way to go. The number of times that I held her as she cried out against growing up, against all the pressures and the indecisions and the sky and the moon and the sun. The worry-wrinkles and gray hairs that I still wear today (serious!). It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of time and patient listening.
Of course I have no regrets about all that, as her Mom. Every child has their own hurdles that they must leap over to become an independent adult, but I’m writing this for you all who have children in the high school and college ages: don’t despair if they don’t figure it all out as quickly as you’d like them to. As quickly as they would like to figure it out. Sometimes it just takes time. Be patient, don’t lose hope, pray constantly, and keep a clean hanky in your pocket at all times. Have some knitting, or some weeding, or some bread dough to knead, at hand so when he or she just needs to vent, you can be attentive (at least that is the trick for me: I am not a good sitter and listener, unless I have something in my hands to do while I’m sitting). Oh–kay, some really good chocolate (dark) doesn’t hurt either, though I wouldn’t keep that in my pocket if I were you. 🙂
That’s my advice. You didn’t ask for it. But you got it, baby. *curtsy* For what it’s worth.
And. If your own child is going through a rough patch, and you look at somebody else’s beautiful daughter who apparently has it all figured out, don’t assume that it was easy for her to get there.
Because it probably wasn’t.
Thing Two: Am I the only poor pathetic sap of a mother who, when watching a much beloved child tool down the driveway in his dear old pickup, going on yet one more adventure, feels the weight of a tiny shoulder-angel who whispers “maybe if you had made him more hot breakfasts he would have stayed longer—?” or worse yet “Maybe if you were a better Mom he’d stay closer?”
And yet another voice: “For Pete’s sake, honey, he’s almost 22! Let him go!” Oh wait, that’s my husband’s voice. 🙁
When my kiddos were all small, I had a friend who would tell me–repeatedly!–to enjoy them when they were little, because as they grew they would become increasingly irritating, until I was just relieved and happy to see them go. She was a great mom, but that was her rather dim view on child-rearing.
Taking her word for it, and realizing that this would be a merciful thing to my heart, to actually look forward to the days when my children would leave home, I waited for those years of chafing and irritation, but it just never happened. Possibly my heart was wired differently from hers, or my kiddos were easier on me than hers were on her (so far! I’ve still got a couple left at home), but I never really got to the point where I was ready for my kids to leave. Alas, poor heart.
If we could have added a wing onto our house for each child, as the Amish do (do they still do this?) I’d have been plum happy. The grandkids could tool around behind me all the day long (guys, just think on it—this would be nice some days, right?) (I have four now–it would be quite a parade!) and we could have frequent family dinners (girls, we could share the cooking privileges–both of my daughters-in-law are wonderful cooks). But no. My grown-up boys live in other states—at least for right now–and Timothy just left yesterday for Wyoming. Wyoming! He has a sweet deal with his employer, to work remotely for as long as he’d like. His boss must really like him, to allow him such a deal, but I guess it has become more and more common to be able to do this, with all the work that can be done on a laptop and a fast internet connection.
But we miss him. Already. And he’s only been gone a day. I know I’m pathetic. He’s a great kid, who spent his last evening here catching up the day’s worth of dirty dishes (I’d been planting all the livelong day) and then playing a game with his little brother. How could a mom ever get tired of that?
Upon arriving in Wyoming, he was greeted by a glimpse of a moose just ambling by. He is taking pilot lessons. His life is full and I’m so happy that he has the courage to go after his dreams. I just wish I could be in his chest pocket, watching them as they unfold. (I wouldn’t talk much, Timothy, I promise!)
Thing Three: Spring has unfolded, in earnest! Baby critters–from the nest of baby mice in my hoop house tackle box, to the burrows of baby bunnies in the brush pile, to the developing (we hope!) ducklings in eggs underneath Lucy, our goose (that’s another story!) who is sitting on a nest in the coop nursery–are everywhere. I love this season. Though I think I’ve mentioned that before. 😉
But there are some casualties. And of course, it’s a mercy that there are. Otherwise, we’d have no garden, no grass: just bunnies and mice!
We do have six cats, five of them outside, and one mostly inside. They are enthusiastic hunters, which I’m happy for (because of the mice) and also sad about (because of the baby bunnies). Because there is no sound on earth quite as heart-wrenching as the scream of a baby bunny that finds itself terrifyingly clutched in the mouth of a narrow-eyed cat.
You never forget that sound, once you’ve heard it!
Thing Four: I’ve been hard at work with a rake and a hoe, planting my gardens, quite single-mindedly! The season is upon us, is it not? I’m doing a bit of commercial growing this year (heirloom tomatoes, peppers, edible flowers, summer squash) so my planting has to be a little more purposeful, as opposed to my usual fanciful (*cough*) style. Even so, I am clueless about how many heirloom tomato plants to plant in plug trays inside, in February, in order to have plenty for my garden in May. And in my hoop house in April. I’m just not all that great at figuring amounts like that–it annoys me, frankly, to have to work that hard to figure it all out, so I just use this simple mathematical formula: plant lots.
(I have a friend who has offered to teach me the wonder of spreadsheets. So far I’ve been able to keep him at arms’ length. They look handy, it’s true, but to me they mean more time spent inside: Anathema!)
Which is what I did. I planted lots. Lots too much. A couple weeks ago, as I was putting in my hoop house tomato plants, I realized the enormity of my overplanting. Gosh, would it have killed me to do five minutes of figuring (answer: probably)? What was I going to do with several hundred extra heirloom tomato plants?
Answer: have a Plant Sale! So this Friday, at our place, I’m going to be unloading all these extras on the unsuspecting public, or at least anybody who will condescend to come down my driveway to see what I’ve got. And I’ve got a lot: heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and a little bit of everything else that I’m planting: edible flowers, summer squashes, and so forth. Also I’ll have a couple hundred beautiful mature herb plants, rhubarb roots, and–the kicker, and the reason a goodly number of folks will make the trip out to my place (we are remotely situated–an entire mile from town)–my dear Mum is making a couple batches of her amazing donuts. My dad will probably “fetch them on out” while they are still warm.
I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such parents, don’t you agree? 🙂
So hey–if you live in the area, please comment below and I’ll send you an official invite with all the particulars. As you may know, I’m in Facebook jail, so I’m not able to use my vomitingchicken.com Facebook page for anything but an occasional whiney status (per se: “I’m still in jail! Help! Somebody! Slip me a file in a cake!”) but oh well. I’m too busy right now to send any more emails to Facebook. It’s kinda fun to be in jail. And I certainly have more time for writing (well, theoretically this might be true) without it.
I am out of time and you probably are, too. Come back in a few days and I’ll fill you in on my daughter’s new lunchtime food obsession: Hot Salads! It’s her own invention and we are totally addicted to them!
Also I’m going to be sharing my recipe for Birthday Trifle. My Dad’s birthday is this week–and so is mine!
Thanks for stopping by, and come back!
p.s. I’ve been dinkin’ around, writing this o’er-lengthy post, for days! I don’t know why it has taken me sooo long. My birthday present to myself is to not go over it and edit it down by several hundred words, which is my usual deal. Your birthday present to me is not to mention how long it is. 🙂 And hey–if you’re still reading–an extra birthday treat would be for you to kindly share this post with your friends, if you liked it. 🙂 And thank you, of course, my dears, for popping in.
- It’s all about the garden: what’s going on in April at our place
- Wondrously tasty and surprisingly addicting: Amalia’s Hot Salads!