I tore out the tomato plants today. There were many small green tomatoes still hanging on, but the whole mass was so overgrown that I couldn't get to anything underneath. So I used my kitchen scissors (is there another tool? Must ask gardening friends) and clipped away at the vines while saving what was ready to harvest. I was surprised to bring in over 20 tomatoes, and felt a little guilty that I had stopped watering and tending yet the plants had kept on producing. Sorry, little plants.
And, of course, as I hacked and snipped at the plants, a dozen more gardening analogies came to my mind. But the one that stood out most, that most resonated with my own journey, came from the view of the whole area once the tomato plants were torn out. As the plants grew and grew and grew, they moved out of the flower bed and into the yard, killing the grass underneath them. It reminded me of motherhood, that as that phase of life grows and flourishes, as it goes from a tiny baby to a herd of little people, it seems to take over more and more of my life. And the grass next to the thriving plant is counted loss for other things.
Sometimes I think of my pre-kid self and think, "Gosh, I used to be spontaneous.
I used to be a night owl.
I used to write letters.
I used to read books through the night...and sleep in the next morning.
I used to list theater and soccer as "hobbies"...and now they would fit better under "interests".
I used to drive a car without car seats, carry a small purse, shop leisurely as if I had all the time in the world.
I used to buy clothes without thinking about how durable they were to cheeto fingers.
And then there were kids. I don't begrudge the loss of those trivial things, for my life is so much richer for the lives that grew and starved them out. Instead, I guess, I marvel at how I have changed. Suddenly I'm all enchanted by first words and knock knock jokes and cleared kitchen counters. And the breeze that blows through the kitchen is the icing on the cake of my afternoon.
Truth be told, some days there is that resentment, that question that nags at you about what you would have been. Some times it starts with, "I didn't go to college to..." or sometimes it has more the tone of "If i have to scrub one more [insert floor, face, wall, pair of dirty underwear, milk spill, cheeto face, etc.] I'm going to go crazy."
Just now, a sweet little voice from the living room yelled, "Mommy, come watch me!" So off I go. But a final thought- do not count the cost of motherhood by what you are sacrificing, count it by what it is giving to your children, the wealth of their souls and the future of the kingdom. For surely nothing is too great a sacrifice for either of those.