Mystery Plants :: Some thoughts on kids

One of the weird things about moving into a new house being surprised by plants. Not that there’s an Azalea jumping out and shouting at you from around the corner or anything. But there’s still this element of surprise. The subtle, slow unfolding of little chlorophyll-charged mysteries. They just start popping out of the ground in the Spring and you’re like, “Huh, I didn’t know there was something planted there. I wonder what it is.” Some of our mystery plants revealed themselves to be daffodils pretty quickly. They’re so impatient. The sprinters of the plant world. Quick out of the gate but their endurance is garbage.  Others are still holding their cards close to their chest, not wanting to reveal their hand just yet.

IMG_5639There are these green leafy plants out in our front yard, surrounding the base of a tree. There are a lot of them and they started small with a few green leaves. They have continued to grow taller and leafier but have yet to bloom into anything. I was beginning to think that they may not even have a flower. Maybe they’re just leafy? But this morning, I just noticed little buds on top. So, any day now we can find out where all of this build-up has been leading.

Yes, my life is always this fascinating…

In other news, Gavin turned 13 this week. He’s the oldest of our four kids and the unwitting recipient of our most focused, neurotic, and naive parenting efforts. All things considered, he’s pretty amazing.

It’s so easy to think of our kids as secondary characters in our own story. To see their lives as tethered to our own. But every once and a while we get to see them from a distance, out on their own, taking on a new challenge, exploring a new area or navigating the precarious waters of new friendships. It’s in those moments that I realize they are not just “my kids” but actual people. Independent beings with souls. They have private lives and private thoughts. Most of which I will never know the slightest. They have feelings and experiences of which I am completely unaware. In their worlds, I am the secondary character. I’m the “dad” in the story they will one day tell a friend or counselor about when they rehearse their childhood years. They will retell some of my greatest or, regretfully, weakest moments. They will reveal how those moments shaped them. How they motivated or hurt them, or both. Their lives are not contingent on mine and, as hard as it is to conceive of at times, they go on whether I’m around or not.

Gavin has changed so much over the years and still has so much changing to do. There are indicators of the kind of person he will be as an adult, but that flower has yet to bloom. That’s something I can’t wait to see though. Not that I want to rush through these years. For now, he’s still leafy, green and getting taller by the day.

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