Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday Musings - Firstfruits


6 years ago, upon the purchase of our first home, we bought a Meyer lemon tree.  We knew it may not produce fruit in the first year or two but we were not prepared for such a long a tedious wait.  Year after year we tended to our little tree, taking it with us each time we moved (luckily, it was in a barrel) and going to great lengths to make sure it had the right nutrients, proper drainage, and warmth during frosty nights.  There were many times we thought she was a goner but we kept at it.   Lo and behold, last month we finally picked our very first lemon.  Our first fruit.  
I can not help but think of how this lemon tree experience parallels my life as a whole, and particularly parenting.  Sometimes it feels like the wait for evidence of our labors is endless.  As parents, we know to expect it but still, it is no less difficult to patiently await the fruit of your efforts in your children's lives, wondering if and when it will ever come.  I often get wrapped up is wanting so badly to see results of my labor that I forget how valuable the process in between can be.  Take homeschool for a simplified example.  I really really wanted to know that Hayden was mastering the concepts we were covering in math, that his reading fluency was improving, that his worldview, in light of significant portions of our worlds history, was taking shape. Now that our first semester is coming to a close, I can say with confidence that we have achieved each of those things yet the most exciting and beneficial part of this experience so far is not that we can say he has met certain benchmarks but rather how profoundly I am being changed.  Day in and day out I am challenged - my patience is tested like never before, my nerves are grated on relentlessly, a new light is shed on my own idolatry of productivity and efficiency.  I realized quickly that if this was going to work for our family, I needed to give some considerable attention to my own flaws which have become exacerbated and exposed.  Like in all areas of parenting, the process, more than in the end result, is where the good stuff lies.  

So for now I will content myself with the little traces, the hints, the glimpses of the things we are striving for. Like when Hayden surprises us with a genuine attempt to console his sister after accidentally hurting her or when he actually puts his shoes on without having to be told before stepping out of the house.  Or when Halle articulates herself with maturity and poise and tells her brother that his actions make her feel like he loves her less.  And when Elena, after kicking and screaming with the strength of a full grown mastiff all the way up the stairs, quietly crawls under her covers, whispers 'ba-ba' to ask for her binky and then closes her eyes and sleeps.  Such sweet fruit. 

Here are a few pics of some recent fruit we are bearing.

Elena learning to cook......

Sister bonding......

And finally, the fruit of our effort to limit the time our children (boy) spend playing video games:  If no wii, no ipod, iphone, or computer, the silly games on his sister's pink camera will do just fine.  Sigh.

Until next time..............


Shiloh and Samantha Sorbello said...

Hayden's outfit in that last picture is awesome. :)

Turner Family said...

keep up the great work, erica. i find it so hard to rejoice in the baby steps and the process rather than just the milestones. you are not alone. i love that you acknowledged your growth and desire to change in the midst of this.

sister love is so presh. your kids are absolutely beautiful.

we have yet to see fruit from our lemon tree and it's been 2 years. i guess we will have to remain patient!