Tuesday, June 11, 2013

everything i needed to know i learned in preschool

it's the middle of june? 
i can't quite believe it; this year has been speeding by, 
one insanely full week to the next.
somehow everyone in my family turned a year older the last couple of months, 
and my house is baby free. 
(insert bittersweet sigh here)
no more diapers in our house, 
and just two big girls who want to do everything all by themselves.
i realized this morning that when m was this age, 
that ruby was already a year old! 

you know those perpetual preschool crafts that involve plopping a couple of seeds into a plastic cup, throwing some dirt on top, and sprinkling in a bit of water before setting it on a window sill to watch it grow? a few weeks ago ruby visited my sister-in-law's montessori classroom, and came home with her very own plastic cup, her name scrawled on the side in sharpie,  full of potential. of course, as every kid does, my girl has been checking that cup every day for movement, for some sign of green poking through the surface. 

"mama, wanna see it!" 
"mommy, can i hold it?" 
"mommy, is it growing?" 
"mommy, i want to find it." 
"mama, can you see it?"

(and then repeat.)

and every day, nothing.
brown dirt.

already damp from the twelve times she's tried to water it by 10 in the morning, 
and just a plastic cup halfway full of dirt.

"mommy, is it coming out yet?"
"can you get it down? i want to hold it."

daily disappointment, 
then even though i know it will eventually poke its way through the dirt to reach the light (unless overwatering, prodding, and preschool fingers kill it first)
i begin to doubt if those little sprouts will really ever happen myself.

it's kind of how life feels sometimes.
i want these monumental changes to happen-
in myself, in my vocation, in my body, in my children and family, in my neighborhood,
and so i check in constantly, looking for some kind of visible and significant sign of change.
and nothing.
it all kind of seems the same, same, same.
watering that brown old dirt gets pretty deflating after awhile.

here i am trying to convince my child to be patient; that if she checks the dirt every hour she isn't going to see anything happen, and that she needs to take a deep breath, water it when it gets dry, keep it in a sunny spot, and wait. 
meanwhile, i want the same immediate results in, well, everything.
so basically i have the patience level of a three-year-old, but don't we all?

then, one morning, as i was doing the dishes (which in and of itself is a little miraculous since dishes usually falls into matt's repertoire), i looked up on the sill and saw this!
a green sprout reaching up, out of the dirt, 
and most definitely announcing that 
it had been growing all the time 
even though we were only just seeing it happen.

now there are three green shoots, punctuating all of that dirt with life.
if you look at the bottom of the clear cup there are little white baby roots that have pushed themselves down, down, down, just as the sprouts have pushed themselves up, and now tangle all over the base of the cup.

it's funny,
once ruby finally saw the evidence of a real, live plant growing in the dirt, 
she stopped asking to check it every five minutes. 
now she sort of just assumes it will keep growing.

here is to trusting that if even if we don't see change where we most want to see it, 
that if we are attentive 
but patient 
and trusting

slowly, surely
hidden from view

all of a sudden
it's right there in front of us,
unavoidable & kind of a miracle because it was happening the whole time.


  1. I will definitely raise a glass to that! Thank you for the reminder that things are surely (and slowly) moving and growing and changing - even if we don't see it or feel it.

  2. what great words!! So encouraging to me this day!!

  3. What a wonderful view on the plant!! It sounds just like Ruby--Thx

  4. Love this! Such a great reminder.


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