Friday, August 3, 2007
As I sat on my front porch last night enjoying an unusually pleasant August breeze, I really looked at my yard and all the plants growing in it. I noticed that many of the plants and flowers had flourished despite the near drought conditions we have experienced this summer. Perhaps it was because I watered and fed and clipped and snipped and generally did everything I could to help them endure the stress of the hot summer. It dawned on me at that moment that was exactly what I do for my children.
I make sure my children have plenty of food and water, and I make sure it is the right kind of food to help them grow healthy and strong. I snip and clip their environment to make it safe as well as fun. I make sure they get the right amount of sunshine and also darkness for rest. I even mist them occasionally in the sprinkler! While the hot, dry summer stresses my plants, the many doctor and therapy visits, the segregation by schools and recreation programs, the stares and hurtful comments stress my kids. I do all I can to reduce the stress for my plants by tending to their needs, and I do all I can to reduce the stress for my kids by fighting the battles for appropriate educations, appropriate medical services, and inclusion in society.
Ashley is my honeysuckle vine. She grows wildly and moves around to wherever she would like to be. Trying to contain her is wasted effort. Like the vine with its brilliant red blossoms, Ashley’s smile and laugh announce her presence to the world.
Jessica is my rubekia flowers (black eyed susans). She will stay in one spot for quite a while but ever so slowly will move out of her perimeter. Like the flowers, she is bright and showy, announcing to the world her happiness.
Corey is my cactus plant. He grows ever so slowly and can at times be quite prickly. But like the cactus to a stranded desert traveler, his inside holds nourishment for the soul. Getting to that center is often difficult though.
Chip is the huge red maple that shades the front of our house. He is steady and grounded, strong but ready at a moment’s notice for fun, as is the tree which welcomes a climbing child. Different seasons bring different visions of his color and personality.
I am so blessed that I have been given the opportunity to nurture my special children and to watch them grow and bloom. The beautiful, strong flowers and plants in my yard stand as representatives to the value of tending things wild – be they honeysuckle vines or children!