The other day I was browsing the aisles of a local thrift shop — not that I need another thing, but since many of our things are in a storage unit, on more than one occasion recently, I’ve needed to pick up an item or two. This time, of all things, I needed a cake pan. I didn’t find what I needed, but the trip was more than edifying.
An eager, loving young boy was pointing out to his mother all the things he would like to buy for her and telling how nice they would be in her kitchen… how nice a picture would be on their wall… do you love this, mama? As he continued to find perfect treasures and had a comment or question for each, she replied appropriately to his statements or questions… she was attentively listening but occasionally reminding him they had a few things to look for.
I’d have lingered longer but I had other stops to make. I decided not to let the moment go unnoticed and mentioned to the mama that she sure had a kind and fine young son there… and that she was doing a great work. She thanked me and with a weary sigh, “…I hope so.”
Motherhood’s hard. It many ways, it has to be.
It’s hard because there’re are other seasons ahead.
It’s hard because there are trials, testings, sorrows ahead.
It’s hard because a young “motherhood tree” is gearing up and trying to produce rich fruit on a frail tree with shallow roots and spindly branches. Spring rains, Summer sunshine, Autumn frosts, cold Winter winds and snow have not yet deeply tempered the tree of motherhood. Few occasions of deep pruning for rich growth have come upon the early years of the motherhood tree.
Young motherhood has days that don’t seem all that fun. Lonely, isolating days — tasks, meals, nursing, washing, wiping up spills, picking up toys, books and clothes… repeated over and over and over again. Hard days that most mothers wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world (I know, some days you might be saying: don’t tempt me!).
Warm and bright, sunny days seem to remedy the hard days and bring long awaited playtime, running around outdoors. Wearing a baby, pushing a toddler, hurrying to keep up with some busy preschoolers — even the sunny days are hard sometimes.
All the hard, all the things that go into early motherhood make for strong branches for children to climb, to swing from, to sit under. The seasons temper the tree — the hard seasons, even more so.
With the passing of seasons, the older the tree, the sturdier the trunk, the stronger the branches, the thicker the bark, the deeper the roots, the more able to bear fruit and provide needed shade.
Mothers need the hard early years.
Children won’t be so for long.