Today I garden teens.

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I had a beautiful yard after Aidan was born. I poured myself into creating it flowery and abundant. Friends helped us build a white picket fence. My grandfather contributed an arbor. Folks would drive by and comment, and I was proud-proud-proud of the riot of color and the variety of veggies in the garden.

But then I got pregnant with Julia, and with that came the inevitable sickness. Constant nausea. Overwrought fatigue. No will to garden.

The garden languished. Though it wasn’t horrible, it certainly wasn’t pristine. It bothered me, but I couldn’t help it, so I let it go.

We moved after that to East Texas where I sort of picked up the gardening mantle only to find it very hard to manage in 105 degree heat. I’ve only really picked up gardening in the past two years. I’m not pregnant, not nauseated (thankfully), and I’ve learned to cope with the heat.

Still, my yard isn’t what it was when Aidan was young. Why? Focus.

In this time of my life, I have a different focus. I have three kids who need my attention. I have food to get on the table. I have writing projects that need to be accomplished. I have high school girls to disciple. I help my husband with our Life Group at church. I speak. I just don’t have the time I’d love to have to garden. And that’s okay. The yard will be there when I have time. But the brevity of what I need to do now won’t always be here–particularly my children.

With my eldest graduating this year, I sense this more keenly. I can’t remake a memory in retrospect. And since I am not one who relishes regret well, it’s better for me to engage now with her, pouring my heart and life (and listening ear) into hers to prepare her for life outside our front door.

In a very real way, I’m gardening her. Tilling her soil. Planting seeds. Praying for rain. Rejoicing in growth. The garden of her is more eternal than a garden of dirt, wouldn’t you say?

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