Friday, April 22, 2011

Tiny Blossom of Victory

 "And God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.' And it was so."
Genesis 1:11

I have conquered the earth. And this tiny flower, who's name I can't even remember, is my trophy.

I do not have a green thumb. I don't necessarily have a black thumb, but I'm not even responsible and diligent enough to start a garden, let alone kill one. I can never remember when planting season is for flowers, which isn't aided by department store garden centers that display their seeds in the spring when plants should be blooming and Christmas trees during the planting season. So I wander through Lowes every spring infatuated by the rows of colorful flowers in full bloom. I know I could buy them all and bring them home, but it feels like cheating (and kind of a waste of money) to plant flowers that someone else started.

In addition, I've been focused more on my lawn than flower bed. Since Peter first bought a house in 2008, I've taken it as a personal challenge to create a beautiful, suburban yard. I grew up mostly out in the sticks, and while I loved having wild woods outside my door to play in, the grass-is-greener part of me always daydreamed of having (literally) greener grass to play in.

So obsessed was I with this project that the year after Peter and I got married, I proposed we tear out the mix of grasses that spottily covered our front yard and re-seed. God bless him, Peter agreed for some unknown reason. And it looked fabulous (for three months) until in my zeal, I over applied weed killer and killed the yard pretty completely…at least we tried(?). In the end, it didn't really matter. We moved a few months later and I had to start over again. Except this time, I was massively pregnant and not really able to do much gardening at all.

After sitting out a summer, I was not going to waste another year. I got the yard taken care of early this spring so it was lush and green if not weed-free. I carefully sorted through the selection of flowers at the garden store and purchased a variety of seeds and sprouts. I brought the flowers home and lovingly placed them in the corner of the kitchen, which is the recommended spot for forgetting something exists.

Before I knew it, I was pushing the outer limit of the planting season. It was now or never so I (kindly?) forced Peter out to weed the flower garden. This would probably be an 8 hour task when done properly—I gave him an hour. I immediately planted the seeds and flowers in the soil freshly vacated by grass and weeds, watered liberally, and prayed.

Within a week everything was dead.

The peace lily wilted and looked like overcooked spinach, the flowers fried in the sun, and the grass quickly reclaimed it's territory.

But then, yesterday, I noticed a touch of color punctuating the green and brown. Success. One life has survived. It's a small victory, but I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grateful For: My new schedule

Here's an equation: the challenges of being a new mom + ((challenges of starting a new job * a job in a new field) - Any seniority earned in my last field in the eight years since college) = LORD, beer me strength.

I've been working weekends and the closing shift for the last four months. I think I literally had the worst schedule possible at my company; I'm not sure that this schedule is usually even given out since I've never actually met anyone I shared it with. I often wondered who I'd pissed off to get this assignment. It was pretty awful, but it was temporary. This week I started my new schedule.

My new schedule is Sundays and Mondays off, working 8-5. I'm very happy about it. My previous schedule had me out of sync with the rhythm of the rest of the world. The first day of my work week was Friday, so I shared none of the communal markers of a week (I.e., Sunday=church, Friday=weekend). Subsequently, I could never remember what day it was. People would tell me something was happening on Tuesday and I actually expected it to happen on Saturday. Also, the pattern of my day was reversed. I did my housework, exercise, and projects in the morning before going to work, started work already exhausted, and after work came home only to quickly eat something and crawl into bed. During my week there was no running errands and no meeting friends, and since my husband worked during my "weekend," there was almost no dating.

I'm so grateful to be able to get off work while the sun is still out, go to church with my family on Sunday, and share two days off with my husband. It may only be temporary, but I'm savoring every day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If I May Speak Dishonestly

Here's a message to every friend who will ever again ask my opinion on her boyfriend (file this away in your records and pull it out when the situation arises): I love him! He's so dear and perfect for you!


Well, honestly, I don't know why you are even asking my opinion since you clearly just want me to rubber stamp your decision. I've been through this scenario over and over again since junior high, and frankly I've had enough of it. You want me to meet your latest love? Yeah, let's not and say we did. Let's avoid the accusations of distrust and disrespect that will inevitably arise when I question your decision; let's pretend that I met him and loved him, because that's all you really want to hear.

You don't want to hear that I think you're far too serious with someone you hardly know. You don't want to hear that while his mouth said he loves your mind, his hands said he loves your butt. You definitely don't want to hear that the reason he's having trouble with his crazy exes is because he's a moron who FATHERS CHILDREN with CRAZY WOMEN! I don't expect to see everything in your latest crush that you see. Of course I'm not going to like your crush the way you do (how inappropriate would that be!). But I do expect that if you claim to care about my opinion and respect my perspective, you won't get all rebellious teenager on me when I tell you what I honestly think about the guy you bring over.

Maybe I don't understand because I'm too likely to believe the opinions of others than my own opinions. When I asked people their opinions of Peter, I was listening—I was keenly aware of the blinders on my eyes and actively looking for flaws I might have missed. Of course, I am a terrible pessimist and my example is probably not a good one to follow, but I don't understand how one can claim to value my friendship without valuing my opinion. I certainly don't know how you can expect me to care about you without turning a critical eye to the most important decision you'll make.

I'm not looking to take the reins on anyone's life. Really, my hands are full of my own life. So if you really don't want to know what I think, let's just avoid the games. Let's just avoid the drama and the hurt feelings. Stop pretending you care what I think about your boyfriend (while you're at it, you might as well stop pretending you care about my concerns either) and just imagine you heard me say, "Congratulations." And we can just leave it at that