The other night, when I was out watering my sad looking plants, something struck me. Gardening has a lot of parallels to parenting (and by “parenting” I mean parenting children in the toddler and preschool set – I do not claim to know how to parent a teenager, but I suspect in some ways it’s like parenting a 3 year old… Ha!).
Without proper care (food, water, naps, structure, discipline, etc) a child won’t thrive. In fact, that child will look kind of like this Hydrangea – sad and droopy. And probably a bit mouthy… thankfully, my plants can’t mouth off.
With proper care though, you can see your child begin to grow, blossom and change. Children go through a ton of this growing and changing in the early years, but even teenagers do a fair amount of growing and changing. After all, they’re trying to figure out how to be an adult and what they want to “be”.
Sometimes you can be doing everything “right” and still not see the fruits of your labor. Kinda like this Azalea… I planted two of these 4 years ago (at the same time I planted my Hydrangeas) and have yet to see even one bud on either of them. I don’t get it, and yet I refuse to give up on them. I continue to water them, continue to feed them, continue to care for them because I have hope that someday, down the road, I’ll see a beautiful flower.
Parenting is hard work, isn’t it? There are times I feel like beating my head against a wall because what I say means squat to a herd of crazy 3 year olds, but there are other moments of wonderfulness where I watch my children share, care for each other and be sweet to everyone around them (yes, including me!). I cherish those moments, just like I cherish the beauty my garden brings. The beautiful moments (and flowers) are like mini-rewards for a job well done, or at the very least, a job done.