Grow with it…

  • pincushion

    It’s been a while since I wrote one of my pondering posts and although I have a list of chores this morning, I feel the need to clear my mind. I just got home from dropping my son off for his last full day of first grade. Man, he is turning into such an awesome kid. When I think back to the first day of school, it’s a little mind-blowing to think of all he has accomplished in 9 short months. Parenting is kind of baffling in its own way. If you ever want to question every single decision you make, become a parent. Particularly during this age of social media, the blogosphere, and helicopter parents, it’s a very strange time to navigate. The questions start coming at you from the minute you become pregnant. Will you have a natural birth, a water birth, an epidural? Will you breastfeed, and if so, for how long? I remember being very thankful when Gavin was a year old so people would just stop with all the personal questions. That reprieve didn’t last long because before I knew it, we were thinking about school. Gavin has a September birthday which apparently is a controversy in its own way. Should we start him in kindergarten at age 5 or age 6? We felt he was completely ready for kindergarten at 5, so we sent him on his way. Anyone who knows me, can attest that this one decision has caused me a lot of self-doubt, guilt, and confusion. On the one hand, he was happy and although he was a little behind on the expectations, he was thriving. On the other hand, so many of the kids in his class were older and further along academically. (Yes, believe it or not, academically applies to kindergarten these days. I thought the big goal in kindergarten was to not eat paste.) Other parents told me that boys shouldn’t start school early. They can’t focus or they’d be upset about being too small for sports. At his parent/teacher conferences, I’d ask straight-up, “did I start him too early? Should I hold him back for another year of kindergarten before starting first grade?” His teacher said that she thought either decision would be fine. Helpful, right? It wasn’t the wrong answer, though. I felt exactly the same way. So we let Gavin decide what he wanted to do. Last summer I asked Gavin if he wanted to go on to first grade even though he’d be one of the youngest and have to work extra hard to learn all that was required of him. He said he was up for the challenge. Many parents might shake their heads at me for putting this choice in a 5 year-old’s hands. Once school began, we quickly realized that we had a lot of catching up to do with reading expectations. By the end of first grade, it was expected that each kid would know 300 sight words and Gavin had about 10 of this particular list down. Although this was a bit discouraging, we agreed that we’d work hard on this every day and just see how we did. It became a fun challenge and the best part was watching his confidence grow when each set of 50 words became “mastered.” Last week, Gavin was at 275 words and he is now reading chapter books with me every night. The best part of this whole year is that he learned a lesson that all parents want for their kids, that hard work pays off. When we were driving home from school a couple days ago, he said to me, “mom, I’m totally ready for second grade. I worked so hard in first grade and did great!” His voice was full of pride and I could feel my eyes welling up. What an insightful lesson to learn at such a young age. For the first time since he began school, I knew that we made the right choice for our kid.

    You might wonder what this all has to do with gardening and here is where it ties in. I began gardening around the time I became a parent. I have been thinking about my style of gardening and how I got so into this hobby. It’s truly been a wonderful escape from my own head. I can’t speak for men, but it sure seems that us gals have a way of over-thinking every walk of life. When I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, it was not an easy transition. So much of our identity is tied to what we do professionally. While in New York, I decided to start a garden since I was home during the day and had the time to do it. Being outside puts a lot of things into perspective. It’s calming and simplifying. I didn’t know the first thing about gardening when I began. I just decided to dig up the grass and get going on it. I had fun researching different methods and stretching my mind in ways that I hadn’t before. It became a place for me to do what I want and not think too much about what others would do. I learned to be more patient, not only with my plants, but with myself. Just as your first few plants don’t immediately turn into an established cottage garden, you don’t have to have all the answers for what you “should” be doing. With a little bit of patience and optimism, everything has a way of coming into focus. We just need to go with it. Grow with it.


    June 12th, 2014 | girl has thyme | 2 Comments |

2 Responses and Counting...

  • Adam 06.12.2014

    An incredible kid with a truly exceptional mom. Love ya.

    [Reply]

  • Yep. Love that aspect of gardening. Simple and it all eventually ends up exactly how it should. Sometimes they thrive, sometimes not. But the journey is fun.

    [Reply]

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