Monday, February 2, 2015

Seeing the Garden Far Better

Why am I doing this? This is the question I wake up to every morning. It also follows me around like a harmless but annoying stalker throughout every hour of my every day and tries to elbow it's way into bed with me on pretty much any given night. Sometimes it even has the audacity to taunt me in my dreams. So obnoxious, this question. The "this" can (and does) apply to just about everything. Work, school, housework, motherhood, life. All of it. I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. A battle that I cannot possibly win. But also a battle that has the potential to destroy not just my life, but the lives of those around me when I lose. Which I feel like I'm doing. Almost all of the time.

I work at my job to help support my children. I am finishing my degree so that I can be in a better position to support my children. And yet, working and going to school make me an ornery, short-tempered mother (with an incredibly filthy house) who seems to have no time whatsoever for her children. Do you see the circular logic here? It seems that no matter what I do or how hard I work, I can't quite become the person I am supposed to be. The mother I am supposed to be. And that's what really matters. Because at the end of the day, it won't matter what kind of job I had or what my grades were or whether or not I got into graduate school. What will matter is how badly I screwed up my kids. (Mark my words, there's a cross-stitched sampler to be made here.) Which I fear, a lot of the time, is...pretty dang bad. And they are ultimately the driving force behind it all.

Do you see my dilemma? I feel like Alice lost in Wonderland.

'I should see the garden far better,' said Alice to herself, 'if I could get to the top of that hill: and here's a path that leads straight to it — at least, no, it doesn't do that — ' (after going a few yards along the path, and turning several sharp corners), 'but I suppose it will at last. But how curiously it twists! It's more like a corkscrew than a path! Well, this turn goes to the hill, I suppose — no, it doesn't! This goes straight back to the house! Well then, I'll try it the other way.'

Here I wander. In circles. Knowing that if I could only see the garden, it would be amazing. I would understand it all. Everything would fall into place. I would know that all of my efforts and failures weren't in vain. The problem is getting to the top of that hill so that I can see the garden. Like really see it. But the path is a windy one. And it seems to lead me right back to where I started.

So maybe until the day that I can find the top of that hill, I'll have to just enjoy my view of the garden from where I am. The perspectives I have are not always the best ones. Most of the time all I can see is the dirt. And where I am going wrong. And the weeds. And the incredible amount of work that needs to be done. But every now and then I see the flowers. The vibrant, beautiful flowers that thrive sometimes because of, and maybe mostly in spite of, my best intentions. 

Every now and then I have a moment like the one I had today where I am helping my 5-year old put his shoes on. And he begins to lose his balance, so he reaches for the bed to keep from falling over. Then he thinks better of it and reaches for my shoulder and says, "No. I want to hold on to you, Mommy. You help me stand up."

And then for just a brief moment, I see the flowers. And I understand the why.


  1. Oh, what a sweet story! I love that you were able to see and recognize that tender moment for what it was instead of letting it slip by unnoticed. You make me want to be a better EVERYTHING. I can't see the garden either, but I do know it will be more amazing than we could ever imagine...maybe we could work on just trying to at least smell it from here?

    1. I fear mostly it smells of defeat. But maybe sometimes it's much more fragrant. :)