By Heather O.
We are safe at home (yay!) and are busy trying to pull together the things that inevitably fall apart when you leave a home for 6 weeks. I went kinda psycho before we left with the cleaning (even going so far as physically throwing my family out of the house an hour before we left so I could mop without little footprints messing up my work), so the inside of the house was in good shape when we got home. Musty and hot, but clean.
The yard, though. Oy.
We paid a teenager in our neighborhood to mow the lawn and water the potted plants while we were gone, but that was it. The herb beds, the flower beds, the vegetable garden, even the cracks in our driveway were totally overgrown with weeds. I had been a little psycho about the yard too, and had it in pristine condition when we left. Needless to say, it’s a little disheartening to see everything so overgrown after all my work (although DH reminds me if I hadn’t done all the work before we left, things would be REALLY bad.)
So I’m slowly trying to reclaim my yard. And as I was painstakingly pulling weeds out of the cracks in my driveway (yes, I started there, because to me, nothing screams white trash like 6 inch high weeds growing around the car tires), I was reminded of a blog post a friend wrote, years ago, entitled, “Be ye therefore like the weed”. She pointed out that weeds are tenacious, they grow in cruddy soil, and do without a gardener’s care. They can grow in the unlikeliest places, and are very, very difficult to uproot. The thunderstorm that would shred a delicate flower only serves as nourishment to the weed, thriving as they do in harsh environments. Forget the whole “bloom where you are planted”. Become a weed, and thrive whether you’ve been planted or not.
As I’ve reflected on our short time living in another country, I wonder what it did for my kids. Maybe nothing–after all, in the scheme of things, 5-6 weeks isn’t much time. We had friends who lived there a year, and their children’s experience was much, much different than my kids’ experience. But if there is anything I could hope for, it would be that getting out of their comfort zone taught my kids to be a little stronger, a little more resilient, a little weedier. I like the idea of my kids being tough, of being able to handle hard things. I mean, I’m not saying I want their childhood to be full of hardships, or that I want my kids to be miserable or anything. I just want my children to learn to be able to navigate complicated situations, to know how to handle themselves when things don’t go the way they want them to. After all, the world is a complicated place, and it doesn’t revolve around them.
And I like the message of women being like weeds. It doesn’t sound very pretty, of course, and maybe we’d all like to think we’re roses, or irises, or pansies. But isn’t part of the Relief Society message to be strong and immovable?
Sounds like crabgrass to me. And I have the blisters and cuts on my hands to prove it.
What do you think makes kids strong? What makes YOU feel strong?
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