I’ve been slowly reclaiming my back yard. The grass is still mostly weed and the garden is far too big for my busy schedule, but I have discovered the perfect spot to enjoy the yard while still watching the kids.
It’s not pretty. It’s an old collection of broken flag stones bordered by old pieces of scrap wood the former owner set aside for burning. It has a rusty fireplace and pine needles wedged into every possible crevice… but it fits a few chairs and some flowers, it has a view of almost the whole backyard and it sits in the shade of an oak tree (an important commodity in this yard).
This not-so-mighty oak is becoming a large part of our back yard life… and, increasingly, a symbol of my journey in motherhood. Once neglected and ignored, the family has now discovered this tree. I read my book or serve tea to my Mommy friends in its shade. The Dudes keep their rock collection at its base (a necessary migration to manage the growing collection already in the house) and play happily in its low hanging branches looking for caterpillars and lady bugs.
The Big Dude had also decided it is a perfect tree for climbing.
I did not agree at first. It took a while for me to come around to that idea. Watching either of the Dudes climb anything is not good for my blood pressure. It is where I feel inadequate in my role as a mother of boys. I know they need the freedom to explore… and even get hurt… I just don’t want to have to watch.
That’s where my little oak tree is so great. The limbs are low and small…. just like the Big Dude. We started with the first limb, a mere two feet from the ground. From there, we progressed to the second branch which is about 3 1/2 to four feet high. He is bargaining for a higher branch and I’m slowly giving in. The best thing about this tree is that it only has a few more branches to go and then he won’t be able to go any higher.
He’s growing up and I have to let him go. He’s starting school in September and I can’t get on that bus with him. I can, however, be with him on the first steps. Each branch higher is an accomplishment for him. This little tree is his Mighty Oak. In his mind, each step up is a step into the life of a big boy.
For the Mommy sitting under the tree, it is just the opposite. It is one more moment with he stays small. It is one more day I can guide his steps and stay ever watchful. It is one more day he wants to share with me. It is one more day that I know he feels safe because Mommy is there to catch him if he stumbles.
I can’t hold on forever but my oak tree is helping us both ease ourselves into the day when he’ll have new trees to climb… away from Mommy’s watchful eyes.
I did write this on Wednesday. I just needed a day to let it simmer before I was ready to share it. Thank you to all of you who are providing inspiration in the form of new writing starts and as always, I’m looking for new ones.