Thursday, June 19, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever

I took all three boys strawberry picking today. (Okay, I wrote this two weeks ago but I was convinced that I could never make sense out of this post. . .and nearly trashed it tonight. Instead I decided to simply post it.) Yup. I thought it would be fun. That the boys would LOVE picking the red juicy berries and that Opie would surely sleep quietly in the stroller while we engaged in this activity.

To anyone with a functioning mind. .. I can hear you laughing.

The boys DID love being out at the farm though picking berries was apparently low on their to-do list. Opie had no intentions of lowering the ear splitting volume of his cries, let alone sleeping. I furiously worked to keep my sense of humor and a modicum of control over the situation as I quickly tried to fill our bowls with berries. Faster, Becki! FASTER! MUST. FILL. THESE. BOWLS!!!

I giggled to myself at one point, looking up to the gorgeous blue sky when a smiling face caught my eye. It was the Ukrainian woman (and her husband) that Evan and I encountered at the Social Security Office the week after we arrived home with him. We started talking about Ukraine and Evan's language retention or lack thereof. Another Russian speaking woman overheard us and came over with a bucket of berries, offering to help the boys fill their bowls.

Needless to say the boys were thrilled! After expressing their exuberant gratitude, they promptly sat down in the dirt and began eating the berries. Mmm...kindness IS delicious!

Despite the company I brought with me, I find picking berries to be soothing. There is really something very basic and grounded about the activity of picking fruit. So in the midst of the chaos of my kids, picking fruit gave my brain a chance to filter through the myriad of experiences and thoughts that have been banging around in my head.

As I sorted through the lush green strawberry bushes, taking care to avoid the overripe, mushy berries, ignoring the unripe while searching for the best berries a correlation began forming in my brain.

I spend a lot of time examining myself and the manner in which I parent. I focus a fair amount of attention to things I would like to change about my parenting, looking at habits and hang ups. In short, I really apply myself to parenting. .in trying to be the best parent that I can be for my children and brutally whip myself when I fail to measure up.  I take my job seriously and at times, can be really hard on myself, focusing on my short comings and negative thoughts. Which though not unwarranted might be counterproductive.

Instead, I need to take a deep breath, square my shoulders and search through the underbrush, avoiding the qualities that are mushy and over done, giving good qualities that are not yet ripe the chance to grow and ripen to their fullest; without rushing them. I am not good at everything. I am simply not. I should focus on the skills, qualities and tendencies that are lush and ripe for the picking.
Photo via Visual hunt

The good fruit.

Fill my basket with those. Take care to leave the undesirable fruit and the unripe fruit behind. This must be a conscious effort.

Wash that good fruit off, offer that to my kids and enjoy.

This must be a conscious effort of quality over quantity. If you simply focus on filling that basket, you will include more mushy, rotten and bright green berries than you ever intended. Thus making your children the sorters, trying to figure out the good and the bad. That is not your child's job.

There is no need to give credence to "I am the way I am, take it or leave it" mentality. Perhaps "good enough" is a cop out. Much good can come from focusing on the positive attributes that you bring to the table. Holding yourself accountable while giving yourself time to grow and ripen. All the while keeping your sense of humor while you forage around to find those qualities. They will be there and they might surprise you.

If you take the time, do the work...the outcome will be fruitful and delicious. Your children will thank you. Maybe not immediately, or with words. ..but they will thank you!

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