New Growth

As my boys have gotten older, I’ve experienced time moving faster. I remember people promising this when my boys were little and days of feeding and crying and diapers seemed endless. Suddenly, my oldest son is ready to take driving lessons and my youngest son has a voice deeper than most adult men. I guess I blinked (or nodded off), and now I’ve joined the ranks of my elders, singing Sunrise, Sunset, and asking “Where did the time go?”

Unfortunately, it’s only the good parts of life that fly past. Even as I yearn to freeze time with my boys, I desperately wish I could fast forward other parts of my life. Have I mentioned how much I hate that? I’m fully aware that life is short and I am probably past my mid-point, so the idea of wishing any part of my life away seems counter productive. But I can’t make healing happen any faster than it’s going to happen (ooh, look at me accepting the things I cannot change!).

I’ve been a single parent for almost two months now. Prior to this, I’d have thought that was plenty of time to adjust one’s routine, but I still catch myself watching for his car to come down the street at the end of the day. His coming home signaled the start of dinner prep, the boys’ doing homework, and our knocking out a couple of household chores, before we parked ourselves in the living room, in front of the television or our computers or something creative.

But the car doesn’t come. It parks on another side of town now and I end my day alone in my living room. As for our evening routine, it’s basically me plastering on my perky parent face and pushing my kids through homework (which they don’t want to do) and dinner (for which nothing appeals) and chores (which they do more of to help counter the missing set of hands). I try to keep things light and moving forward, so we don’t get stuck thinking about who’s missing from our routine. Alas, they’re not little anymore and even my perkiest performance can’t distract them from everything. Which is kind of funny, when I think about how we shuffle around the house the rest of the time, in a sort of protective fog that keeps our minds just sharp enough to function, but not really focused on anything.

And then I noticed this.

One tiny peach-colored bud, next to some tiny bright green leaves (or what will soon become leaves), sprouting on one of the plants I rescued a few weeks ago. When did that happen? I did a quick walkabout through our house, checking the other plants and, sure enough, found more signs of new growth. I know buds and leaves don’t just appear one day, but when you’re not paying attention they certainly seem to.

The meta of this situation is not lost on me and I’ve made it part of my daily routine to walk through my house, checking on each plant, noting their new growth and trying to see some of my own. I struggle to name specific things I can point to, but I do feel something stirring beneath the soil and, when pressed, I can list a few things: I go to sleep more easily now and no longer stick to “my side” of the bed; I cry less; and I’m working more, substitute teaching, upcoming events at the Arts Center, and a new job, staffing special events at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens.

My leaves are tiny, but I marvel at them just the same. A month ago I would have said nothing will ever grow in me again, but apparently something is happening, whether I’m paying attention or not.

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