Monday, August 3, 2015

Lessons in the Marigold

Mother's Day. The day of the year, the world over, where our children come home from school, bright eyed and full of love, and hand us a cup of dirt with a seed in it. They excitedly tell us about the life of a seed and how we need to take care of it, nurture it and help it to grow, just like mothers do for their little ones.(Nicely done, teachers...) 

Little do they know, they've just trusted the seed to the wrong mama...

That's right Mamas...shameful confession here. I don't have a green thumb...not even a jade or slightly chartruse thumb....Whatever the thumb color is that mercilessly murders plants without fail, that is my thumb. Oh, you laugh...but you didn't know Merv, the love fern I received from my husband for our first anniversary (who died before the second.) You haven't met BamBam, my office bamboo plant, (that my co-workers now hold joint custody over, just to make sure the poor guy gets water...) No friends, I am not good with plants...which is why you can picture my feigned happiness at receiving a sweet little Marigold plant, delicately planted into a little plastic cup, by my 6 year old son. 

On the outside, I exclaimed at what a treasure it was! How we HAD to put it in the bathroom window to watch it grow and give it sunshine...on the inside, my heart trembled at how I would have to, inevitably, tell my son about the untimely death of his marigold plant, due to my lack of gardening prowess.

As the days and weeks went on, this little marigold surprised me. I kept checking it daily, admiring its changes, celebrating each new pod and bloom with my husband and kids. We took turns watering it, my husband, son and times we may have overwatered it, but never knew drought. There were times when it's leaves looked a little droopy, like it was about to give up....NOT TODAY, MARIGOLD! Not on my watch! 
And as I watched my family become invested in this small little plant, that seemed so insignificant, I was reminded of a million significant things about the bond of family. 

My husband and I surrounded that plant and checked on it daily. We were invested in it. We nurtured it. Our son saw our example and did the same, even guiding his two year old sister to see the latest blooms. We celebrated it's success and discussed honestly when we were nervous for it's potential failures. 

I think, as moms, sometimes we count ourselves out too early in the game of family. We get so bogged down at the successful Facebook and Pinterest lives of others that we think, "I'll never be as successful at this whole mom thing as..." 

But then, as this little marigold taught me, I'll never be successful if I keep trying to go it alone. I need to include my husband. I need to engage my children. We need to lead by example. We need to celebrate each other's successes. We need to compliment and encourage new blooms. When leaves get dry and mistakes happen, we need to prune and correct, but all in the spirit of love and growth. We need to not allow the depression of messing up and the fear of failure keep us from engaging our family on all levels.

Scripturally, we believe the husband is the head of the home. I believe that wholeheartedly and cover my husband in prayer daily, as that has to be one of the toughest jobs in the world. But the mother, Mamas...the mother is the heart, the one who brings us all together, reminds us of our value, engages, encourages, inspires, and celebrates when our family experiences growth. It is our example that will lead our littles to become nurturers and guides to those around them. 

And through this little plant, I realized, we are only strong as a family when we are all engaged and invested in the success of it. When my husband and I demonstrate what a Godly life should be. When we acknowledge our mistakes and lovingly prune away the messy "branches." When my son takes the hand of his sister and shows her what he's learned. When we all "overwater" a bit, but never run so low as to experience spiritual drought, because one of us is always building into the others at any time. 

Now our little marigold plant has roots everywhere, so much that it's ready to burst out of it's cup. We're ready to plant it and watch it go further than it has before in it's tiny life. 

My family roots are ready to plant as well. I know that together, with each of us knowing our value and continuing to invest in one another, we will never stop blooming. We can only grow from here.