Stepping out into my garden helps, breathing in deeply (and making sure to take allergy meds each day), and staring in awe at the explosion of growth. Spring is sprung here; the roses are glorious, some of them huge saucer-sized blooms that leave me in awe. Rain has been good to us--although much of Texas remains in a drought, getting rain this spring has made all the difference in our garden. Yes, dead branches on four trees let us see the damage that remains--we've no choice but to cut them down, but there's enough work to do that it's going to take Rick some time to get to it.
The garden is restorative--but I fear if I were to be the one out doing all the work, I would not find it so. I'm lucky that the years of hard work out there paid off in a self-propagating garden, as long as I am content to watch whatever comes up, I am treated to a bounty of blooms. Rick now does the heavy lifting in keeping grass trimmed and limbs cleared. I once poured myself into work in the garden as a respite, a very necessary respite, from the demands of parenting my three very wonderful but challenging children. They have come so far, made such progress, and my work with them has changed as they have grown over the years. Just like my garden needs me less to manage, my children require different kinds of attention and less rigorous effort.
This is all good, but it would be a mistake for me to believe that both the garden and my children no longer need my guiding hand, my steady attention, my devotion. My garden continues to offer blessings because it is still cared for--the preparation is done, but the fine-tuning, the spreading of seed, the pulling of weeds, the careful clearing of pathways, all these things are still necessary. So, too, do my children require my guiding hand-not to push them in a direction not appropriate for them, but to help them stay on the paths they have chosen for themselves, to know that they are never alone, always supported and valued. Their challenges are significant and their need of assistance remains--the kind of help changing but the need for it not.
My children pull and tug at me and often; my exhaustion has as much to do with trying to help them get everything done in a day as it does the demands of my job and my other responsibilities, and yet...sitting in the evening, listening to their laughter, their chatter, their arguing: all this, too, is restorative, and I breathe in deeply, finding bliss in them, their totality--loud, boisterous, stubborn, animated, emotional miracles, each of them.