Have you ever lifted a rock in the springtime and found stringy, white shoots growing wildly beneath it, like a bean-plant science project gone awry? Expose them to the light and what appears to be a confused tangle soon flourishes green. People are sometimes like that, just waiting on a little more space for the next phase of life to start.
As another college bound freshman packs up her belongings readying to take off, I realize that I'm holding my breath. Sigh.........another seedling about to be transplanted. Her frenzied activity brushes aside the loosening soil that once nurtured her, making room so that she might seek her place in the sun. She has dreamed of, and dreaded, this day. We both have.
It seemed so far away, this unnamed future when children grow independent of their mother-root; independent enough for other things to fill up the hours - theirs and mine. I sometimes feared it would never come, and then - blink! - a new day. And, so soon!
I have never regretted choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, though a good portion of my time spent parenting was in survival mode. Putting dreams on hold to raise a family, I know a little something about patience and perseverance, about waiting for your day in the sun.
Laying dormant, it's not easy to recognize what you want, what you think you need, and be denied - even when you're the one doing the denying.
You could say I chose my own rock to grow under, and grew slower than those who lingered in the sun. But my children and husband grew there along with me, all of us tangled up in each other's lives, sometimes close to strangling each other, always somehow managing to thrive. And now? Now we're slowly spreading out into the bright world, seeking new sustenance, some of us laying down new roots, some revisiting what used to feed us. Still connected, yet clearly our own individual selves.
This, too, is survival mode, this replanting, this finding new space to grow. It is how seedlings become gardens.