I recently ordered some tulip bulbs from my niece for a school fundraiser. I’m always a sucker for a cute kid with a clipboard, what can I say? But truthfully, I love tulips. I’ve been known to grab more than one bunch during my weekly Trader Joe’s trip.
I live in the mountains of Northern Arizona, so growing tulips here requires planting them in the fall, when the evenings are cold but the ground has yet to freeze. I will situate myself in the flowerbeds, turning over the soil and carefully place the bulbs in their respective spots. I’ll make sure they are properly situated and allowed the best possibility to thrive.
And I will wait.
For months those tulip bulbs will lay dormant. Spring will come, and I’ll be distracted and the tulips will be a neglected thought. The snow will melt and the days will turn warmer and I will start to wonder if my hard work was for failure. Perhaps I missed a crucial step, or the conditions were too harsh. Each time I pass my flower beds I will search for any sign of growth.
Only then, will they emerge and bloom with the most surprising beauty.
A new friend recently invited me and my kids to dinner. We met at church a few weeks ago, and our kids are the same age. We share similar career backgrounds and the conversation between us flowed easily.
That night the baby was cutting a tooth, miserable and clingy – and the toddler was bouncing off the walls. My husband was out of town for work, it was 4:50 p.m. and I needed to make a dinner plan, fast.
Her text was an almighty life raft in the sea of immense motherhood.
“What are you guys up to tonight? Come over for a campfire in the yard. I’m making Mexican food.”
My fingers couldn’t respond fast enough.
“We’ll be right there!”
I’m a true believer of inviting people into your life and into your stuff. Seeing another Mama in her home is encouraging and life giving. We all know that there’s laundry to be done and diapers to change and mac ‘n’ cheese to be made. We don’t often want other people to observe us living in our “mess.” But, so many times that’s where the beauty is, in the mess of everyday life.
Dinner was everything you would expect with 4 kids under four. It was fun, and messy and loud. There was whining and some pouting and few moments of “1,2,3 … ” We coaxed, corrected and mothered our way through the meal, while attempting to talk amidst the revolving requests for drinks and reminders for all to sit properly on their bottoms.
After what felt like my hundredth plea to my son to stop playing with the dog under the table and to just eat his cheese quesadilla, I looked at my new friend, and I said, do you ever feel like some days you are just constantly correcting them?
She smiled, nodded and simply stated, Yeah, but we’re putting in the hard work now so we can enjoy the benefits later.
Each night before bed we pray with our boys. For over 3 years now I’ve prayed over my toddler, beginning our nightly prayer with “Thank you Jesus for this day …” and we pray for protection and guidance and the health of our family.
Recently he’s become the one to initiate the prayer. Crawling into bed, after we read his favorite books, he pulls the covers to his chin and looks up to me with eyes-wide, and simply says, “Prayers?” And we begin.
A few nights ago I decided I would ask him if there would anything he would like to pray about. In his sweet and soft-spoken toddler tone he requested to pray that Jesus would help him to not be sad during preschool drop off.
I could hardly form the words as my eyes welled with tears.
The symbolism between gardening and parenting is recognizable, and yet it’s still remarkable how parallel life can be sometimes.
I often feel like I’m in a deep and dormant phase with my parenting. How many times must I speak the same sentences for rules and order over my children? Will it ever connect with them? Am I wasting my breath?
Multiple times this week I found myself broken and on the verge of tears with my kids. Thinking, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m not equipped for this. I’ve failed and nothing I do is even making an imprint on them.
Motherhood can feel fruitless at times, with our efforts going unacknowledged for seasons. But, just under the surface the words we speak are taking root. They may lay dormant for longer than we’d hope – someday to bloom as a sweet reward.
Guest post written by Daniella Murphy. Daniella is a wife, boy mama and Los Angeles native recently transplanted to the mountains of Northern Arizona. A former Hollywood Assistant, she traded rolling calls and fetching lattes for rolling strollers and fetching sippy-cups. She loves Jesus, her morning coffee (still warm!) and a luxurious solo trip to Target. You can read more from her over at www.themerfett.com and follow along on Instagram.