While I was sweeping today I was thinking about planting and harvesting.
How lovely and organized it is to know that: this month, I plant this and in approximately this many weeks, it will be ready to be harvested.
Life is not so simple, I think, but I see this pattern in my life every single day. The pattern of planting and harvesting.
Every single day I am planting, and every single day I am harvesting, and enjoying the delight of a bountiful harvest.
I plant so many lessons: how to pray, how to eat food you don't like, how to make a bed, how to go pee on the potty, how to wait patiently, how to pack a lunch or scramble eggs, how to graciously accept an apology, how to say I'm sorry and mean it.
I plant ideas. You are not stupid, you are smart and you work very hard. If this boy is mean to you at school, where do you think he learned how to be mean? I don't know, what do you think? Tell me about it?
I plant routine. I do the breakfast dishes and get the kids dressed and do hair and brush teeth. We gather for prayer and song and scriptures. I quick-pick-up the downstairs and do a run through upstairs once Merit is sleeping. I do yoga and study and pray and click things off of my list. I get Gage out the door at the same time and pick him up at the same time.
I plant love. Love for routine and learning and gratitude and patient siblings and loving parents and a wonderful community and a gentle Heavenly Father.
Most days I do not reap what I continuously plant. There is no magic day to harvest children who love to pray and practice piano without tantrums and kindly share their toys. It is a long process to allow these little seeds time and space to grow and bloom.
But I do harvest many, many things. The harvest is so abundant.
I harvest laughter and smiles and kisses and moments where my heart might burst with delight and pride as I see my kids allow the seeds of kindness or honesty to take root. I harvest a beautifully made bed by my five year old and think: she will remember this when she is in college. A made bed is the start to a productive day. I harvest beautifully drawn stick figures and gifts of twigs and wilted dandelions. I harvest perfect naps every so often, and successful dentist visits.
The changing seasons of the earth affect young families and our planting and harvesting.
Winter is the season that we harvest lessons learned from an abundant summer. We cash in our tokens of hard outside work and travel and firmly strengthened relationships, for a long, cozy season in our home - warm and covered in blankets, doing puzzles and singing carols. We spend more time with family friends and host parties. We eat hearty stews and bake lots of bread. We see Steven in clumps - lots during the holidays.
But there is also lots of planting in the winter. I clean and organize our home and create systems and processes. I do budgeting and financial planning for our future. We read and learn and plant many seeds of immunities as we face virus after virus. Steven plants and plants and plants from October to February, immersed in the fields that he has so carefully tilled and worked into workable land that slowly but surely bears fruit.
And then the summer comes and I cash in my clean, cozy home for one of sunny chaos. Towels and swim suits strewn on the floors, ants parading through the window tracks. Meal planning goes out the door and dinners are late. We stay up late and wake up early, our mornings are lazy and long. We rush out the door for end-of-year parties and assemblies, and come home with granola bar wrappers and smudged faces.
We are spontaneous and constantly outside, exploring and experiencing: grandeur, divinity, mosquitoes, and poorly marked trails. Steven comes home earlier on Fridays and our long weekends are as delicious as a dipped cone on a hot day.
Laundry becomes a mountain to climb and we use paper plates.
We are sunkissed and our hair lightens up and our smiles are bright and our cars are a mess.
And then the air turns crisp and the leaves turn orange and we remember routine and structure and bedtime. The office is desirable again and we kiss our soldier goodbye as he returns to the front lines of financial services ;).
And we wind back down.
And remember how much we love six-o-clock dinner and early bedtimes and structured mornings.
And we plant some more, and we harvest some more.
And wonder why we ever strayed.
But by spring, we never want to see a lunch box again and count the hours until school is done and we are all free.
I wonder when I'm old, if I will see this time as my season of planting. Young kids seem to require much of it.
But harvesting, truly harvesting, somehow seems like an ending to me. I hope I never stop planting.