As anyone who knows me can attest to: I am a great gardener. I started with a bobcat and a half acre in Brookhaven twelve years ago. I watched the "garden" for a year for hours of sunlight, drainage and micro climates. I planned a moonlight garden and herb garden and worried about how I would ever tame the back forty where the creek runs even in a drought. I installed hard scape and pathways, imagined garden rooms and tall, tall trees that would create the shade I yearned for as I broiled in the noonday sun, working on a dream.
Today I spent some early springtime weeding and cleaning up in my shady, independent garden. This is the time of year when the green of budding leaves is chartreuse and the hellebores are volunteering all over the place and I am yanking out stragglers as I move from path to room, marveling how the garden has such a life of its own. My plans were so well thought out and my intentions were so admirable. Now I am faced with a mature arboretum that barely resembles my dream. But what a garden it is. I am prideful to the point of obnoxious, telling customers at Loew's they should come on over to see my handiwork.
I am struck by the analogy to childbearing and parenting. I teach and coach young families for a living, reiterating that this miracle- child does not belong to them but rather that they belong to their offspring, the children that they so diligently and hopefully planned for and nurtured.
Children, like gardens, have a life of their own. We dream and scheme, hoping that our best intentions and most of our assets provide the fertile soil for self- actualization while all but insisting that they follow our lead and do what they are "supposed to" do. They don't. They meander along until they find their own rhythm and meet their own goals, doing exactly what they want and ignoring most of our sage advice and ardent hopes and dreams.
We have no right to orchestrate their futures. All we can really do is plant the seeds and watch them grow. Each new season brings surprises along with failures and rewards. We struggle with detours and so do they. Finally, we find ourselves pridefully announcing to the customer behind us at the grocery-store that our family has succeeded in its growth and development and that they should come over to see the pictures of what our kids did on their own.