Flower Pulling

In a break between work and children and typing notes, I managed to get the yard mowed again before it rained.  My order of new weed eater string finally came in, so I got that finished, too.  The yard was so neglected that year before we moved in that I don’t know if I will ever get it edged again.  I can keep it contained, but that new sharp look has passed, I think.

While I was doing the yard, I was delighted to discover that some of the Irises and other bulbs (that people gave me last summer when I had cancer) were starting to bloom!  I was so excited!  I did not have my phone with my to take a picture, but I planned on getting back there before the rain came so I could share my excitement.

Except then I had to finish work, and kids came home, and I had to type notes.  Then it was time to run and pick up the pager for the ER.  Then it was time to settle the kids down for supper.  Then it was time to do dishes.  Then it was time for Nathan to leave for his Folk Jam event that he leads once a month.

I wanted to go with him, and thought we could as a date, as long as we took separate cars in case I got paged to the hospital.  But then we looked at our schedule and saw how crazy next week is, and felt it would be better for me to spend time with the children while I am home instead of being gone an extra night – even if it was just for date night.  So I did not go, and did have fun with the children.

Until they picked all my flowers.

I wasn’t mad.  And I held it together long enough to smile, and pat them on the head, and let them kiss my cheek, and squeeze my thank you’s.  But when they scampered outside again, I cried.

I cried because no matter how hard I try to be a mom, I am selfish and self-absorbed and self-centered.  I knew it was true.  I knew it was true because I was crying because they picked all of my flowers, even pulling some of them up by the bulbs, and pulling at the leaves on other bulb plants so now they won’t grow flowers anymore.  We have talked about it a hundred times, but they are just too little to understand, and so my flowers are gone.

I think it stings extra because I miss my huge food garden I made in Owasso at that house, and long to have that again, but know that we do not in this season have the time or energy or resources to start over again.  We lived on that garden!  I am finishing the last of what we had canned, and I don’t know how we will feed our family without it, though, so I keep some root vegetables and other things I brought from seed, I keep those things going, so slowly I am building my supply up again from pots until I have enough to start a garden again.  I am proud of me for trying, at least.

But there will just be no backyard flowers, I think, until the kids are older, and so it is.

Except I felt silly for crying over all my flowers pulled up, because for them it was magical and beautiful and we talked about roots and stems and how flowers grow.  They learned so much!  And they were giving me so much: they saw beauty, and flowers which they know I love, and wanted to bring it to me!  It was a precious gift, I know, and I saw the loveliness of their tender little hearts.  They did not do anything wrong, so much as they were finding ways to love me, and that makes me love them even more.

Even if they pulled up all my flowers.

But really, flowers are for picking anyway, right?

And these are prettier than the weeds they usually bring, yeah?

So imagine how thrilled they were to find such fancy things!

I even took a picture of it for them:

That’s when I saw it: I had gotten Anber in the picture.

Normally, I would have to crop her out part way, so as not to show her face, and then go one with my iris grief.

Except that’s not my life, this crying over flower bulbs.

It’s Anber.  She’s my life.  It’s those kids!

She’s my life, and she can be in pictures now!  I think we keep forgetting!  I still have a panic attack every time we post a picture, or think I need to go back and change a fostering blog to private after it’s been posted 24 hours.  Except I don’t.  She’s here.  She’s ours.  And she’s amazing.

And she picked me flowers.

That’s when all that grief blew away with the sprinkling rain.  I am not failing because we don’t have our food garden, and I will get it started again when the time is right.  Flowers are for picking, and now our dining table is special with its iris-in-a-mason-jar.

And in that very moment, when on his overnight day here, Big Brother told us “I fall a lot sometimes, so please don’t be mad at me,” because he was still a little scared that we might beat him just because he has CP, and we assured him that he won’t be in trouble for falling.

That’s the moment that he ran outside, headed toward the swing set, tripped over nothing, and landed right on my peach tree – the last of only two trees that survived the move from Owasso.

I caught my breath, then, in that moment, at the sight of Big Brother upside down on the ground, with his arms and feet curled in the air the way my puppies roll in the grass, and my peach tree laying beside him, broken right off its baby trunk.

The whole tree was snapped in half, just like that.

But I didn’t care.

Because all I saw was Big Brother, laying on the ground, trying to catch his breath.

And I didn’t cry.

Because all I felt was my body moving in slow motion to get to him, to make sure he was okay, and then to back off and make myself make him pull himself up, brush his own self off, and make his own self try again.

Because we cannot do it for him.

Because he has to learn how to fall and be okay.
Because he has to learn how to fall and get back up again.

Because he will fall.

And I hid my tears again, except this time it wasn’t over flowers.

It was over children, and how they fill my heart before they are even mine.

And over a new understanding that maybe that’s how Heavenly Father feels sometimes, too, when he watches my pain and struggle when I fall, and when He has to let it happen, and when He has to let me get back up again.

That’s a lot of love, I think, and I almost tasted it, for just a very small moment.

And then I made Big Brother give me a high five with his weaker hand, told him to go play, and tossed my peach tree in the dumpster, right on top of that bag of broken glass from the pile of my mother’s things I found when working in the garage today.

Because that’s not my life anymore, growing all my food and caring for my mother.

Right now it’s my turn to be the mother, and to grow children, and to care for them.

My life is lifetimes away, long ago gone, and yet has finally here, and is all new altogether.

Because these kids, my family, that is my life.  This is my life, right now, right here.

And that means taking their pictures, right in the middle of fish and chips, just as the last green bean is shoved into her mouth, even while she is proudly sitting by the iris she picked for me.

Posted in Parenting permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Flower Pulling — 1 Comment

  1. wow! You amaze me !! You and Nathan and your family teach me everyday! I am so thankful that not only are you called to what you do but that you are gifted and called to share it!