the weeds. they are winning.
I ponder how much more one can lower expectations until one reaches the root of the problem. The soil is a hard clay and without constant tilling, weeding and new nutrients; the garden lies fallow, empty. Weeds can grow anywhere and take things over; pushing out all other growth. We are in a drought.
I now know what the cracked tile, exposed plumbing and overgrown yard symbolize. They don’t symbolize things that money can buy but deeper seeded issues that are the cornerstone for any home and garden. TLC. They lack it. And nobody cares enough to fix it.
The downward slide is insidious and years in the making when things are pushed aside and overlooked; all things blurry with the rose colored lens There is only so much one can project onto others before they have to take responsibility for their own actions. They need to want things to change; not because circumstances or others want it. They have to want to change these things for themselves.
And so I do things in places where others can appreciate it. Simple things where I do not seek acknowledgment but knowing they are benefiting the bigger picture. I used to think my outside activities were to make new friends or get recognition for myself or my kids. But I finally understand my driving need to contribute; to constantly expand and grow. I need to feel that I have something left to give. It used to be that I would give and except reciprocity; to feel appreciation to gain self-worth. But today I was given a gift that is priceless, one that no one else can take away.
I found who I am. I re-found my purpose.
And as all the pieces of my life’s puzzle fall into place I have found contentment and peace. I sat in the church with one child, today, as mothers were celebrated. I had thought to sit in a different pew so others around would not notice two of my sons and husband missing. The family who weekly sits behind us inquired where they were and I feared I would sound bitter when I answered. I had tried to awaken my household, twice, for our mass on this second Sunday in May and finally gave up. Showered and dressed I headed downstairs alone. I was surprised when my youngest son emerged dressed and ready.
My household had forgotten it was Mother’s Day.
I shared with the family at church where the rest of mine were; asleep. It was my husband’s weekend to usher and thankfully, my boys were not on the schedule to altar serve. It was packed as I watched extended families venerate their mothers and grandmothers. I was surprised my voice emerged calmly and as I wished them Happy Mother’s Day I found my smile was sincere. I had already lowered my expectations; only hoping that my house would be clean and that my entire household would come to church with me. But with both of these things unmet, I still could wish others a happy day and it was in these moments that I finally knew I had grown up.
I know my family loves me. I returned home and chose to not mention what day it was and when my husband and sons realized I had left them behind to attend church alone for the very first time; they got it. I heard my husband rally the other boys to immediately start cleaning and assigning tasks. I know that my clean house will get done; that my boys will work hard to appreciate me and salvage the day. I ate the pastries from the girlfriends I sat with, the day before, and as I stared at the weeds in my garden and stepped over shoes and laundry my eldest asked why I was quiet. He really did not know. It was then that my voice emerged wobbly.
“One day you will understand when you are a father,” I quietly stated.
He could see I was disappointed when I told him I had wished he had been with me at mass. It is a yearly ritual for the priest to give flowers to: the oldest mother present (she was 95+), the mother with the most kids (ten) and the newest mother (a 2 month-old baby) before the entire congregation. I drank my coffee (black with a touch of half & half) and tasted the bitter; reveling in it. I answered the multitude of texts from fellow mothers, wishing one another a happy day. Sadly, today is my family’s teachable moment. It can only go up from here.
I can now find the words to voice what I mean; no longer do I sit within my four walls angry. I have chosen to do the things I want to do, just for me, and hope that the people who occupy my space with me will rise to the occasion. No longer do I wish to change others or even fix them. I have reconciled the pieces of my life that make me unique and know that I have something worthwhile to share. I navigate my way, picking up more pieces to add to my ever expanding puzzle. My rake is out as I clear my path.
I have been a given a gift. I am grateful.