Lately I have been feeling a deep-rooted emotional connection to both of my children. We’ve been at home living slow and easy since our return from Germany on June 10. Our life has truly taken on a more relaxed pace to levels about as slow as can be expected with a two and a half-year old and an almost six-month old under one roof.
I am at home with my children almost 24-7 these days. Aside from two mornings a week when Lance is at The Day School and one morning a week when my neighbor’s mother keeps Vivian for a few hours, to say I am the primary caregiver of my children is nothing less than accurate. We’ve settled into a nice calm, yet fun-filled rhythm with just the right balance of sunshine and rain.
With all this time together it is inevitable that the bonds between mother and child, as well as Lance and Vivian’s love for each other are thriving. Many flowers, plants, and gardens are in bloom and in full-swing during the summer months as they decorate and sprout up on all ends of the world. I constantly find myself in tandem with this miraculous growth as I gain a deeper connection and plant strong roots deep inside my children. Without roots below the surface, the beauty that stands tall above the Earth wouldn’t exist. I can only hope the roots I am embedding within my children continue to bloom in the form of their individual personas as they grow.
As Lance and Vivian continue to grow, I work hard everyday to plant roots of security, love, kindness, and responsibility in their little garden’s so they can spread and expand over time. As a stay at home mom, I am in a unique position to foster this expansion with a watchful eye.
I also have open ears to their needs, their laughs, and their cries on a daily basis. I am grateful everyday to be in this important position. It would be a lie to say my thoughts never drift to positions in the “grown up” world, but I am truly able to see that this time at home with my children is not going to last forever. My aspirations can wait. Lance and Vivi won’t need me forever in the way that they need me right now so I must put in the necessary time to grow my garden.
As I continue to ponder this analogy it strikes a funny chord because in the literal sense of gardening I am terrible. T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life, I am unable to weed because I’m scared of snakes, and watering seems like a dull and boring task to me. Ironically, my mother is a fantastic gardener. She loves to plant flowers, work in her many flower beds, and spends countless tender hours taking care of each and every plant that surrounds her life. I’m beginning to think I learned how to “garden” from her, but have applied it to a different and more enjoyable aspects of my own life.
See my garden grow…
And lest I mention the constant and important arms of a Father that surround and support our seedlings.
Oh, and did my mention my “plants” talk to me?
Although Vivian doesn’t say any words she is full of coos, screeches, squeals, giggles, and cries. It’s fun listening to her “voice” as we go about our day. The early morning chatter from her crib to the cries of delight and joy to the cries of feed-me-I am-hungry, I listen with a mother’s ear to what she is telling me so I can respond accordingly.
Lance on the other hand if full of silly sayings and responses to my questions that never cease to crack me up. For example, he recently got to see and pet two real live horses at The Day School. Afterward on the ride home I asked him what his favorite part about the horses was and he responded by saying, “their dirty teeth.”
Then the other day he was knocking on his bedroom door, and I, playing along said, “Who is it?” He replied with, “It’s the pizza man!”
At the pool one night he was relaxing in a lounge chair and I gave him a snack. Before he started eating he said, “I better sit up straight like a gentleman.” Jan & I cracked up because we always remind him this at the dinner table, but it was funny because he retained the information and applied it to a new setting.
The music to my ears sentence Lance is uttering appropriately these days is “I have to go potty!” and running into the bathroom on his own. After months of constant reminders and occasional forgetfulness on his part until it was too late, we’ve finally turned a corner. Flowers are blooming. Let the sun shine in. I even woke up the other morning to the sound of him
watering his own garden peeing in the potty. More music to my ears. Wait, did I just say that? Yep. And it was like a symphony after months of rehearsal baby.
Vivian just sits back and watches Lance’s every move as he flutters and plays around the house like a busy little bee. Like most gardens, there is more than one plant to care for, and sometimes their roots become entwined. Right now, the special bond between Lance and Vivian is tight. Their roots will forever be tangled in what I can only hope becomes a both seen and unseen attachment.
Lance mauls her with hugs, kisses, cheek-to-cheeks (our family bedtime ritual) and “fish faces” (his addition to our ritual). She knows no different and basically surrenders to his affections, even when it looks borderline rough. Her big smiles leave no room for question of her love for him. In turn, he lovingly passes her toys and always reminds others to “be gentle” with his sister. I must mention though, she did reach out and grab one of his toys for the first time this past week. The look on his face was one of utter surprise as she confidently snatched it from his grip and put it directly into her mouth. He then “told on her” and quickly regained control of his possession without a fight from her, but I can tell… the real fun is about to begin!
In the meantime, I am enjoying moments like this…
As a hand’s on gardener, my plants tend to reap what I sow. Gardening as pertains to parenting is crucial job and one that requires time, effort, instinct, and sometimes assistance and research. I am learning just how much my children are retaining from my day-to-day choices. As I continue down the rows and rows of motherhood ahead of me, this is one garden that I know I can succeed at for the rest of my life with the proper amount of time and care.
I remind myself my children are always watching and listening as I try to do right by them. Choosing my words and actions wisely so they can sprout into their own one day is of utter importance. I must keep the bugs away and remember to document growth along the way so I can tweak and adjust my methods from year to year.
To this point, I have cultivated and laid the bed for my garden to grow. I understand set-backs will be inevitable from time to time, and it’ll be easy to compare my garden with others, but every garden is unique. I am planting the best one I can while admiring other gardens with an open heart – for every garden is full of a variety of plants. I also remind myself to always take time to admire my garden, but never underestimate the constant care my garden requires. As a stay at home mom, this leaves me little time for much else. I am not a master-gardener yet, but I’d like to think I am well on my way.
On that note, I have to go for now. I have some watering and weeding to do.
Make each day better than the last, Friends!
The Banter Lady
p.s. I love “gardening” tips, especially from more experienced gardeners, and I love talking shop. Please comment and share information as desired.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to my neighbor Christie for bravely asking me to water her real plants last night and giving me the inspiration to come up with this analogy as I unreeled the hose. I hope your garden is still thriving!