Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I couldn't think a metaphor for my life that involves a rubber chicken...

...so you get one about my garden.

My life is a lot like my garden right now. And not in a good way.
School started, which is actually a good thing. 

1st day of school photo. That's how we roll.

What? That's what my face looks like.
So when you give a kid a camera, not all photos will be of the floor.
 And I started kid-swapping with my friend on my off days. Also not a bad thing. Keeps my son entertained better than Spongebob, so it's a win-win. It does make me busier, but there's a little money in it, so...

Still seems like summer.

Gavin in all his Capt. Underpants glory is in his "space-ship". Again...that's how we roll.
 But how does this fit into the garden metaphor. It seems like my life is overrun with weeds. As much as I try to keep those little buggers out, they are taking over. And I just don't have the time to really nourish it the way it deserves.
Can't tell weed from plant? Sometimes I can't either.

I should be getting baskets full of tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, carrots, onions...

...potatoes, herbs, green peppers, jalapenos, raspberries, beans...

...cantaloupe, watermelon, peas...

...zucchini and squash.

But I I'm getting mostly weeds. (And that awesome shadow.)
Instead, I get this every couple of days. It's barely enough to feed one person, much less my family.
I feel like those weeds have taken over my whole life. Sometimes I think, "if only I had enough time to weed more, I'd be able to save it." But I don't have the time. I can't give up the other things in my life for reasons that I can't divulge. Everything is necessary. Nothing expendable. (OK, I guess if I had to, I could give up Dexter.)

The responsibilities seem overwhelming. A burden I bear with a tangible weight. I can't keep up with the weeds. They are suffocating my garden and my life.

But what can I do? Give up on my garden? on my life? Cut out something? What? Tell me. What in my life is absolutely unnecessary? (And if you say "this blog", I'll punch you in the e-kidneys.)

7 comments:

  1. Here's what I want to know. With your particular "weeds" would dropping something really fix anything. You're not really the gardner of this one. It'd just give you more time to fret over the weeds that the gardner is letting take over. I could be wrong, but that's kinda how I see it.

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  2. O.K., so it's hard to respond without knowing quite what the weeds represent (although I completely understand that sometimes not everything can be talked about on a public forum). But the gist seems to be that they're responsibilities that seem to be keeping you from your desire to grow prize winning tomatoes.

    One "weed" you could possibly get rid of is that class you teach at the garden center every week. You know, the one you teach to the seedlings who have just left the nursery.

    I'm not saying give up visiting the garden center altogether, but just the class. Sometimes the guy who runs the center and his business associates don't realize everything going on in the lives of their seedling teachers, and nurturing your own garden and seedlings has to take priority over the garden center. You might be thinking, "But that doesn't take much time." I say, make a list of the things you could do in your garden each week with the time you spend prepping for the seedling class. Also, sometimes just the act of shedding one responsibility--no matter how small--can feel like a 50 ton weight has been removed.

    Also, is it possible that your farming partner could take on some of the weeding and nourishing of the garden? I know I bury myself in a lot of weeds that my farming partner could pull if I only let him. Unfortunately, I'm very controlling of how the weeds get pulled and the garden nourished. For some people, it's not that they won't let the farming partner help--it's the the farming partner isn't cooperative. Sometimes they want to partake of the bounty without doing the work. If that's the case, after a good swift jab with a pitchfork, you need to have some serious conversations with the farming partner. Maybe even involve the guy who runs the garden center, if you think he could help. (Just because he runs a garden center doesn't always mean he knows the right way to nourish your garden.)

    O.K., it's exhausting writing in metaphor.

    If I could help you weed, I would.

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  3. Wow, Brandi! Props for writing that long in metaphor. I think I'd hire you for all my metaphoring needs of the future.

    I think you may be right about the seedling thing (and my laugh was audible when I read it.) Also, I think you and Shan have a point about the other. It's more complex than this metaphor allows, but you have some great advice.

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  4. De-weeding my garden has been a 6 year process--still ongoing but much better-- mostly because I couldn't say no to people and because I want to do everything.

    It began with me being so overwhelmed I thought my head would explode. I actually made a list in my journal of all the things I felt like I should be doing and prayed about it. What should I take off the list? The answer I got was that I needed to do all those things, so quit whining. It was the answer I wanted and not the answer I wanted.

    After more thought and time elapsing, I realized that many of the things on my list were Sunday activities and that if I really did them on Sunday instead of napping and running off to visit my mom for hours and watching movies--if I did those Sunday things on Sunday, I would accomplish more all week. (Sunday things included journal writing, preparing seedling lessons, visiting teaching, planning FHE, geneology...) I'm not saying I manage to do all those things yet, but I'm working on it.

    Also, luckily for me, the Mommy group I was meeting with sort of dissolved as we all got busier. I made the choice to stop going to another club, a Quilting Club. I hadn't been able to give it up, but then we had car trouble for 4 months in a row and I missed it anyway. So it was easy to just not go back even when I could.

    De-junking my house has helped me de-junk my life. I burned piles of fabric that I had inherited from a little old lady. My husband hated it and I felt guilty all the time for keeping it and insisting I was going to sew something with it and never actually having time to sew anything with it. The more clothing and stuff I have been able to burn/send to Crosslines (Missouri's version of DI) the more able I am to keep my house clean and myself organized. I threw away all the college textbooks I had been saving for 12 years in case I ever taught school or homeschool.

    I stopped teaching charity music lessons for all the Mommys and babies in our Garden Center. I stopped teaching charity preschool at my house for all my friend's kids.

    All but one of my children are in school now. I require my children to do chores now.

    If I catch myself creating drama in my life, I stop and refuse to continue thinking about whatever it is.

    I realized that if I did 6 things everyday, the rest was ultimately unimportant. My 6 things are Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Read Book of Mormon with kids, Morning Family Prayer, Evening Family Prayer. If I do those 6, I allow myself to go to bed with a clean conscience.

    All these little changes have taken time, but they add up to less stress and less weeds. I don't know what your weeds are. Maybe some of these things will help you. Ultimately, I found the pain of letting go some things I felt were absolutely necessary was rewarded by immense relief and peace. And I found out they weren't absolutely necessary after all.

    And I think God helped me by taking some of them out of my life for me.

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  5. To clarify, I hadn't been teaching the music lessons or preschool when I said that prayer. Those were things I added in later because I think I'm superwoman and can do everything.

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  6. Definitely some good commentary here. I've been feeling the same way about de-cluttering my life and pulling some of those weeds which keep me from really living my life.

    Unfortunately I'm one of those people who have to make goals to make goals and by the time I make the list of goals I either #1- lose the piece of paper the goals are written on or #2- never find the time to review my list.

    The last thing I thought of here was about how organized God is and how defining of an attribute that must be for Him. Interesting that most "systems" in science are in a constant state of entropy. From our universe down to our planet and even our bodies on the cellular level there's an amazing amount of order to their composition. Something tells me the sooner I can establish order and a habitual routine the quicker my life will start to de-weed itself.

    (Oh and I love your cornholio shadow picture in the garden, awesome)

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