Find my words
The flower beds surrounding this house have been an oasis for me. We moved here in the winter and became pregnant the first spring. The excitement was tempered with fear—we had been here before, twice. I knew a pregnancy did not guarantee a baby in my arms.
I carried a weighty secret around with our jelly-bean sized baby. I hated lying whenever someone asked what was new and I muttered “Oh, not much.” Life was hanging in the balance in my womb, and I was paralyzed with fear. I did my best to arrange my face in a casual, pleasant expression, covering the torrent of excitement and dread threatening to overflow.
As spring burgeoned, I walked the flower beds and greeted the plants we hadn’t known were buried under the snow. I went to the garden center to add my own roots to the soil. I picked plants that were bright and cheerful, the way I longed to feel.
I sought solace in the garden when my mind would race with the possibilities the pregnancy could bring. I didn’t have to pretend here. While I didn’t trust my body to grow this baby, I trusted my hands to grow new buds. I knew if I watered, pruned, weeded, and fertilized, I would see blossoms as the result.
I relish bringing blooms in from my flower garden for my family to enjoy around the table, but my daughter isn’t so sure. When she spots a new flower in the vase she asks me, “Mama, when will that flower die?”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is a natural question for a three year old learning about life, but it makes me sad to have this be her first reaction.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“Well honey, it will die after a while. But right now, it’s this flower’s time to bloom. So we can enjoy how beautiful it is and we don’t have to worry about when it dies.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“But I don’t want it to die,” she replies honestly in her sweet, small voice, giant hazel eyes downcast.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Hard Pressed but Not Crushed in the Pandemic:
I unbuckled and climbed out of my front seat to crouch in the space between our daughter and son. I looked up at my one- and two-year-old children strapped into their car seats and wondered how I could best protect them from the storm raging around us, rocking our vehicle as we tried to drive to safety.
We were in the middle of nearly 100 mile-per-hour winds, flash flooding, downed trees and power lines, ambulances screeching, widespread power outages, and little visibility. I needed to calm them from the sound of the driving rain and shrieking sirens and the sight of rogue objects flying in front of our windshield. Cars around us were veering and braking suddenly as huge branches were ripped from trees and falling on the road in front of us.
“How can I get us to safety if we crash and my husband dies?” Even the toys cutting into my knees could not distract me from my racing thoughts. “How can I cover them both with my body?”