for the joy rather than the glory

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Double rainbow last night

J and the girls got out of bed this morning and went downstairs, leaving me alone to listen to the fan and smell the day coming in on the breeze. I fully intended to follow them immediately, and instead dozed off again. Effortless. Now, I am as tired as the rest of you mamas, but typically once I’ve opened my eyes, engaged my brain and spoken to someone, I’m awake. Today I could have drifted off and stayed there, but alas, there were things to be done and children to care for, and so I hauled my bleary-eyed self down the stairs for caffeine.

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The chickens were already foraging and the girls had been fed, so my coffee and I got to wander out to the garden. I sipped and watered, pulled a few weeds and admired my plants. How they’ve grown! I made mental notes of what seems to have helped and what clearly has not. The half of the plot that I fully worked, digging and turning the soil before planting in rows, looks far better than the other half; that section is choked with weeds threatening to overtake the three sparse rows of wonky carrots and turkey-eaten cabbages. Lesson learned, I suppose. I snapped a couple of photos, and headed inside to try and write before beginning my work for the day.

And then I pulled up the pictures.

Oh, how pitiful, the voice jeered. Who do you think you are, pretending to know anything about anything! You are no gardener. Those are crooked rows of scraggly plants in a messy yard. You can’t share these photos. 

And you know what? I listened to that nasty voice. For most of the day. Ouch.

I’ve got this vague feeling of having exited the survival phase of mothering very young children, which comes with no small amount of relief, but it has also brought some serious uncertainty. The fog has lifted enough to see around me, but I don’t recognize the terrain. Where the hell am I? It certainly seems to be a dangerous place, for despite regaining the ability to think about myself a wee bit, I am still firmly in a season of giving, giving, giving until there is nothing left to give, and receiving little validation, only more worry and more requests. I can think about self-care and personal development, but there’s not much time or space to DO anything about it. And that nasty voice from the garden loves to translate “nothing left to give” into “nothing worth giving.” That nasty voice makes me doubt myself, and so instead of doing something (anything!), I do nothing, including things I love. What a jerk. A jerk and a liar.

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So here are those pictures. My scraggly patch of dirt, my weeds, and my plants that may never produce. It’s probably not the last conversation I’ll have with that nasty voice, and that’s ok. I’ll share my photos because they’re real, and “good” or not, they’re mine. They’re not perfect, and that’s ok too, because it’s ok to do something for the joy rather than for the glory. I am a gardener because I say I am a gardener. I put plants in the dirt and I garden. I suppose it’s as simple as that, yes? I am because I say that I am and because it makes me happy.

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3 thoughts on “for the joy rather than the glory

  1. Good for you! I have that voice. I also have the demands for more, more of my time, more of my energy and attention until there’s nothing left to give. You say it so well. Any gardener knows how much effort it has taken for you to get that little patch to where it is. And any gardener that started out from a patch of grass or weeds, as I did, will remember that those days of struggle and learning were the most rewarding and exciting. Someday this yard may be weed-free and manicured. But in the meantime I’m playing with my kids and going to the beach and savouring their childhood. The weeds will wait.

    Thanks for posting this I’ve felt discouraged with my yard so haven’t posted garden pics this year. I will now! Jill

    Liked by 1 person

  2. your garden is great! I normally have weeds too, and not all plants come up each year. I think a “perfect” garden is where the owner sprays chemicals or does nothing all day but pull up weeds. A real perfect garden has character, like scars and marks, weeds, a break in the line. Gardening is learning a little at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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