You’ve inherited a garden and been told to watch it for a full season before doing anything to it.
It’s that time of year when everything is dying off. There are unturned beds and overgrown bushes (no sniggers!) You can’t believe that this space will ever be home to anything but weeds and worms.
And while you want to cull the lot, to take a shovel and some secateurs to it all, you resist, because you hope that one day you’ll see blooms where you currently see bleakness.
Some days you look out of the window and wonder if anything will ever grow there.
Some days, you are frustrated with the pace of change and the weeds that come, some of them are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Other days, it doesn’t bother you, as you rely on your knowledge that things grow over time. You know that there will be new growth and the cycle of nature works on its own time scale.
And as time passes, things begin to change. You water the ground and tend the soil. You don’t see progress or prettyness, but you continue. You nurture and hope, and resist the urge to remove the deadness. You trust, in time, that you’ll know what you need to chop down. You trust that one day you’ll see growth.
And your patience is rewarded.
One day, you look out and there are the signs of green shoots in place of dingy dirt. There are leaves on the trees and once dormant plants are now sprouting with confidence and possibility.
You look at what you thought were weeds and see they are laden with richly coloured flowers like you’ve never seen before. A patchwork of shrubs has grown in areas you thought were destined to be barren. Things beneath the surface have woken, and are stretching up towards the sky.
Your child is this garden.
You don’t know what is under the surface.
You don’t know what random seeds through words and deeds have been planted in them.
You don’t know when they will blossom into beautiful blooms.
You don’t know who has landscaped the view or how it will all pull together.
But with patience, hope, and belief, it will.
If you feel your child is the weed in this garden, that’s ok. Remember that weeds are the most resilient and resourceful of plants. They just don’t know how to grow in straight lines.
There are many cycles in life. And we are in another one. Yes, it’s extraordinary. Yes, it’s unprecedented. But it’s also a gift.
Stand back and watch as your garden grows.
Tend it with patience and love.
Water it with hope and care.
And know that whatever grows in it, the fight it has gone through to make its way to the surface affords it a beauty that only those who have felt that struggle can see.
Happy today, gardeners. Our job is to feed the soil and love and appreciate whatever grows in it.