The Nature of Growing Up

Reader Contribution by Angela Pomponio
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On my son’s fourth birthday, yesterday, a day designed by mom for warm memories, snap shot worthy

moments and a lightly profound tone I found myself thinking about growth in general. To be honest, I found myself frustrated, hurt, crying and with a drop of self pity. Events as of late have thrown this mom into a maelstrom of caretaking others. Rescues abound and I handle them, wtill getting dinner on the table. Garden planning and business trip packing collide with kiddo craft time and respite care for friends in need.

So on the fourth anniversary of the most beautiful, profound and prophetic day of my life, I hit a wall. A girl like me can run on very little. The grabbed handful of nuts, a morbid laugh with a nurse friend, a glimpse of sun on snow, the occasional ‘Thanks babe, that was delicious’, and a warm little hand on my cheek as we sleep get me through weeks of list making and conquering, groceries, budget balancing, plumbing crisis’ and ensuing bills, changes of plans, family illnesses, friendship changes, beekeeping studies, and laundry. The never ending laundry. When mom finally feels her gratitude tank pushed beyond fumes to the land of invisibility and on over to abuse land, get ready family.

Our birthday evening turned into a bumpy road as my husband lectured on about appreciating how much mom does for you. My husband, my best friend and at times like this a blind man ironically telling a pre schooler to open his eyes.  My son and I made up before I had re entered the workforce and put him in full time preschool.  Disaster averted.  No organic meals from co op to soothe my underworked homesteading dream muscles, not today anyway.  Somehow when blood of your blood kisses your eyelids and says they can’t imagine a day not spent side by side with you erases all hurts and moves the center of the universe safely away from your ego.

My husband was not so lucky. I cried, read, refocused and then took a few minutes to examine why I do what I do. This is indeed my dream. This land, animals, people and goal of constant self and environment improvement via self sufficiency, kindness and growth. Am I here because this is my destiny, the most important and worthy job I have ever been given? Do I want to repeat family patterns of repressed self doubt, pity and projected guilt and martyrdom? NO! I never want those I choose to love and care for to feel they are a burden, unworthy in any way. Nor do I want to feel this aching sadness and loneliness for my efforts and very essence. My value goes down every time someone deosn’t notice the infantesimile tweaks I make daily to our life to comfort and ease their passage through life. So where is the balance?

After much reflection, and some tough self talk, I realized most growth happens similarly. Up and out, the challenges produces thicker stronger growth from the inside, not always discernible by measuring size.  The occasional wonky protrusion a testament to inner struggle. Dangling overripe bits distract, but in the right light add character. I know I need to build strength and reach for the sun to feed my roots.  Without the right structural cahracteristics and vigor I cannot support, nourish or shelter anyone. I don’t want to hang on for dear life in a storm. I want to turn my face bravely into the wind and offer warmth and shelter to those I love.

First I vow to love and forgive myself. I will dig my roots deeper into this place and life for strength. I will build my core with love, work and authenticity. I will grow up and out as I can. I will reach these appendages around those I love and ask for what I need. I love these people and this place. I love this life and know I am made for the challenge and satisfaction. I know they love and appreciate my efforts. I also know that without storms my strength would be untested, and then whats the point? Growing up isn’t easy, but it is.