The one thing plants and children have in common

On Mother’s Day, I helped my son plant some flowers.

He painted the pot, tilled the soil, and dropped in a handful of tiny seeds.

Admittedly, I wasn’t 100% confident that anything would bloom. After all, it was a rushed job on account of his delicate attention span. And I didn’t exactly follow the directions when it came to burying the seeds 1/2 inch under the soil.

However, about a week later—maybe even less—I went out to water my herb garden. That’s when I noticed the little clay plot.

Already, tiny leaves poked up from various spots in the soil. Some an inch high, with tiny buds.

Upon alerting my husband, he shared in my surprise:

“I had no idea it would grow that fast.”

“Me either,” I replied.

“That was way quicker than I expected.”

And, folks. It was in that very moment that I realized this plant actually means so much more to me than tiny green sprouts and splashes of washable finger paint.

This plant is a representation of my little boy.

I know you can relate.

How many of you have looked at your child and said, “I had no idea he would grow that fast”?

How many of you have acknowledged, with surprise (and disdain), “That was way quicker than I expected”?

I’m not the first to tell you that children grow fast. I know.

But I think, sometimes, it’s good to be reminded.

When I picked my son up from school the other day, he immediately clung to my legs. He laugh-cried—his famous response to moments where his emotions are so big he doesn’t know how to react.

I carried him to the car and, as I reached for the door handle, he placed his hand on mine.

I turned to look at him—this almost two-year-old weighing down my arms—and his eyes sparkled.

He put his hands on my face, one on each side, and looked right into my eyes.

“What are you doing?” I laughed.

With his soft, pudgy hands, he pulled my face toward his and gave me the sweetest little kiss.

Obviously, I cried.

The next day at pick-up, he clung to me and laugh-cried, as usual. But this day was different. His friend started crying—big, heaving cries. It turns out, another child had taken a toy from him.

My sweet boy wriggled out of my arms and ran to his friend. He enveloped his fellow toddler in a big hug.

Again, I cried.

I can’t take full responsibility for my son’s emotional sensitivity. Of course, I’ve encouraged him to give hugs and be nice. But the truth is—he’s picking up on these things all by himself.

Because he’s growing. So. Fast.

I know there will come a day when he won’t greet me the same way. Instead of running to my side when I pick him up from school, he’ll roll his eyes and make sure his friends know he thinks his mom is soooo lame.

Instead of voluntarily giving me kisses, he’ll tell me he hates me and that I’m the worst mother in the history of the world. He’ll slam his bedroom door. He’ll mutter under his breath.

And some day, when I visit his home, I may have to share it with another woman. A woman who didn’t get to see him hug his crying friend in that day care classroom. A woman who didn’t watch as he hugged each and every one of his stuffed animals, before telling them “ni-night.”

Someday—much sooner than I anticipated—the little sprouts on my Mother’s Day plant will turn into strong, sturdy stems with vibrant, delicate colors. It’ll happen overnight. It’ll happen when I’m not looking.

And when it does, I hope my son will understand why that plant blooming in the atrium makes Mom cry.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be so happy to see it grow. I’ll love the beauty it brings to the room. I’ll take comfort in the fragrance. And, I’ll treasure the memories.

But my goodness, will it be hard. To know that it won’t ever be those little sprouts again. To know it doesn’t need me quite as much as it used to.

No one said being a gardener (read: mother) was easy, right?

So to those with little ones, I beg you to cherish those tiny sprouts. I know it’s hard to weather all the storms. Sometimes, you just want to see petals. You just want to get through this season.

But, friend, you will. And it’ll be so much quicker than you expected.

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