If mothers were trees…would they be like these?
A speculative look at the similarity between maternal instinct and cultivated bonsai architecture.*
Seeing the forest for the trees.
Birch trees, with their snow-white bark always make me think of the Robert Frost poem–Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening–the last lines of which could be an anthem for motherhood:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.”
Some mothers are worth-less.
It is very hard to know your own worth even when people are kind and reassuring.
Mom 1: “Of course jelly beans can fit up the nose–the manufacturers designed them that way. “
Mom 2: “Oh yeah. It’s a nose-picking conspiracy all right. The sugar syndicates are in cahoots with the emergency after-hours clinics, I’m sure of it.
Even with an abundance of fertilizer, it can be hard to feel like a properly formed fir.
It helps to surround yourself with like-minded trees.
Join a collective–be unique in a crowd
Real friends let you know it’s okay to be a small tree in a big garden.
We grow at our own pace and, yeah, some of us have perky petals, but most of us are just clinging to our own mossy kingdom trying not to kick out the dirt holding us together.
Other mothers are hard to miss–always the belle of the ball.
It’s hard not to compare yourself to the mom who looks like she’s got it all under control.
But maybe, she only let’s you see her when she is at her best.
I like to think this bonsai goes home to put on a pair of sweat pants and binge watch Dancing with the Stars while eating Chunky Monkey straight from the carton.
Lean into parenting sharp edges
Sure, lean into the wind.
Face your battles.
But also, be willing to admit when you are unbalanced.
All work and no play makes mommy a crab apple.
Dwarfed by expectations
I measure myself against an impossible standard: the mom I want to be versus the mom I am.
Sometimes, it’s okay to just be the cute-little-mom-that-could.
Be at peace with your adorable limitations.
The tiniest seed still blooms if you give it enough attention.
That rule applies to you as much as your children.
Fake it until the glazed pot fits!
You may feel like you are coming apart at the seams.
You need a solid foundation and a rock to lean upon.
That’s okay. Go do something nice for yourself.
Buy a glazed ceramic pot to squat in.
Sometimes, all it takes is a pretty package.
Never give up!
Just when you are suffering root rot…
That’s when it’s your time to find that inner strength to keep blooming.
Even when you feel dead from the crown down.
Moms meltdown too.
We all lose our cool.
Try not to burn any bridges while you blaze away.
Remember: Spring returns each year.
Whatever your parenting challenges…
If you just can’t pack one more lunch or pick up one more pair of underwear…
Those tangled roots that are tying you in knots and weigh you down?
They are also the ones that lift you up and make you an absolutely beautiful mom.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:
*Bonsai Parenting Archetypes–an excruciatingly root-bound analogy.
My mom agreed to join me at my favorite place on earth for mother’s day.
The bonsai show was such a nice surprise!
Mom admired the petite jardins–even if she was drawn to the biggest brutes on the lot!
Thank you for joining me for a retrospective of the Mother’s Day bonsai bonanza at Meijer Gardens. I highly recommend you attend the special exhibits like these, or, failing that, stopping by to enjoy my obsessive photography habit.