Friday, April 25, 2008

The best times of my life were when the roses grew wild. . . .

I just finished reading a book called, “Tending Roses.”

The book is in part about a woman who married and had a beautiful rose garden. She worked very hard in her rose garden everyday, tending and pruning the roses. They were beautiful, and people from all over town came to see her roses. She was very proud of them. Eventually, though, children came along and she did not have the same free time to look after the roses. Most of her waking moments were spent tending after the children now, and the roses eventually grew wild. She would often look at her wild roses and wish she had more time to devote to them, to make them beautiful again. . . .

In time though, her children grew up and moved away. They didn’t need her constant attention anymore . . . and she suddenly found herself with all the time in the world to tend her roses again. So she did. She returned to her rose garden, pruning and tending her roses carefully everyday. And they became beautiful once again.

And when working in her rose garden, she would ponder back on her life, and her children . . . and her roses. And she would often think, “You know . . . the best times of my life were when the roses grew wild. . . .”

Every night I pray for my little girl. I pray that she’ll grow strong, and be healthy, and happy. I plea that I can be a good mother to her, and give her the love and devotion that she deserves. But last night, as I was praying for her, this thought came to my mind. . . . “The best times of my life were when the roses grew wild.” And as I finished my prayers, kissed my husband good-night and lay down to sleep . . . I began to cry. At first, I didn’t know why the thought was making me cry so hard. But as I lay and think about it, I realized I was crying for several reasons . . .

I most often my little one my big, little girl. “Big” because of all the things she can do now. I remember at her 15-month dr.’s appointment that my husband and I counted and determined that she said about 5 words. Now, 3 months later, she says over 100 words! And she understands so much more. She can run, climb, sing, and talk. She can “read” a book, and brush her teeth, and wash herself in the bath. She’s so “big” in that respect. And she’s “little” because . . . well . . . she’s exactly that. She’s always been so petite. A lot of her little capris just fall right off of her hips. And most people say her nose hasn’t grown since the day she was born. Barely tipping the scales at 20 pounds, I can still snuggle her on my lap, and carry her around the store. So little . . . yes, she’s my big little girl.

Well, last night, as I was crying, I thought of the time that would eventually come when she wouldn’t be my big, little girl anymore. One day I will look at her . . . past the time when the roses grew wild . . .and she will be grown. She’ll be mature, and experienced, possibly married with her own children . . . and beautiful. But she won’t be my big, little girl anymore. And I realized how truly fleeting these moments are. These past 18 months have flown by. And they have been SO good. Filled with such joy and satisfaction. And one day . . . I’ll be the only one to remember these moments. With my husband working full-time, and she being too young to remember, there are memories that only I will hold. And one day, they will be just that . . . only memories. And I cried not wanting it to ever end. I don’t want to want it to ever be over. I don’t want to ever forget these precious, beautiful moments that only I hold.

I also cried because I was scared. You know how a lot of women feel like they “loose” themselves after becoming a mother. They become so wrapped up in taking care of children that they forget what they used to be like and what they used to like to do. Well, I was never like that. In fact, I was the exact opposite. The moment I became pregnant, I knew I had “come home” in a sense. That THIS was what I had been waiting to do. It seemed like everything before that moment was just a distraction, prepping me for that moment. I truly feel that everything that I am, has to do with being a mother. That’s who I am. And that’s where I get my most satisfaction. I love being at home. I truly would never want it any other way. And I’m scared for that day when I’m not needed like that anymore. Who will I be when I’m not her mommy?

And, finally, I cried because I need her. Before I became a mother, an unfortunate thing happened to me . . . I grew up. I grew up and I forgot how to play pretend. Everyday my little girl shows me the joy of coloring all over yourself, running naked through the house after a bath, finding a really good rock, playing in the grass under the sun . . . saying hello and smiling at a stranger. All these things that I had forgotten how to do.

I remember one day I ran into a friend at the supermarket. She had a little girl about the age of my little girl. As we were standing there talking, her daughter starting yelling, “Balloon! Balloon!” We all looked around trying to figure out what she meant when we noticed that she was pointing up. So we looked up and there we saw it. This lone, big, bright red balloon stranded alone in the rafters, unnoticed by everyone else. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but as I pondered on it later, I realized how sad it was that I didn’t look up anymore. I remember what the ceilings looked like in the supermarket that my mother took me to as a child. I remember them very distinctly because I looked up as a child, and all around me for that matter. When young, we haven’t learned to ignore anything yet. Our whole world is open to opportunity . . . not molded in any way. But eventually we grow up. And our world becomes closed. But, for me, my daughter opens up little pieces of that closed world everyday. She reminds me of something I’d forgotten. I need her to do that for me. But there will come a time when her world is closed too. And she won’t be young, and innocent and free to show me what our world really should be about.

So you can see why I cried. . . And with all these thoughts swirling in my head last night, I couldn’t help but climb out of bed and tiptoe into her room, to kneel beside her crib. I reached my hands through the crib bars and stroked her little head . . . her sweet, beautiful, precious little head.

And eventually peace came over me. Yes, things will change. One day, I will look at my life and it won’t look like anything that it is now. It will be past the time when the roses grew wild. But there are still many, many good moments and memories to come. And . . . for right now . . . I’m still her mommy . . . and she’s still my big, little girl . . .