Finding Growth in New Soil

My daughter is more then a little caught up in the idea of growth. At seven years old, she dreams of being bigger physically, but also of all the magic that she imagines adulthood will bring (that magic, from what I can determine, seems to involve a lot of cookies and all night movie marathons!). As her Mama, the idea of growth is rather different.

At the end of the Summer of 2015 we packed up our much culled belongings, drove 1700 miles, and moved our existence from our native Pennsylvania to our new frontier in Colorado. Friends, family, jobs, half of my book collection (::sobs::), there is much that we left behind in the pursuit of something bigger. Life had gone from comfortable to stagnant in Penn. and when my husband had an amazing opportunity presented to him, we couldn’t pass it up. Much of his growth was immediate. My path was less defined.

For the first time since we had married, we did not require a certain income on my part for the maintaining of mortgages and daycare costs. A peaceful end had come to a job that was not serving me, and my daughter was off to kindergarten, leaving me with a new amount of freedom. The dreams that had long been tramped down in my soul were starting to bubble up in new, exciting, and terrifying ways.

While my main job when we arrived was helping our daughter adjust to this new life of ours, spending our afternoons together after her morning kindergarten class; I was also taking the steps needed to make my dreams become realities. The titles that had once intrigued and taunted me were now close to being my own! As exciting as it was, I found the speed of growth to be overwhelming. Growth, while necessary and so often wonderful, can be painful too. Our new life was so much of what I had dreamed about, but I missed our old house and our network of friends and family.

I found myself reaching for the familiar. My mind jumped to the idea of a garden. Apartment life in a new place has so many benefits, but garden space is not one of them. Still I found myself planning out balcony arrangements that would make it work, and as soon as the weather permitted found myself wandering through a few local garden centers collecting the plants I had envisioned, along with all the pots, soil, and tools I would need. Heading home that day I could barely wait to plunge my hands into the soft, earthy smelling soil.

It quickly became apparent that like much of the rest of our life in our new home, gardening was a bit different here. The routine of watering, the arranging necessary to get the right amount of sun, the care and keeping of my fledgling plants, all of which came so easily to me before became a struggle. My plants wilted and rebounded, plants flowered and sprouted baby produce, only to give up halfway and drop their rewards before they were ready. My plants were floundering, and so was I.

As the months passed I alternately gave them too much attention or not enough. I coaxed new life from them only to be frustrated when I forgot to spritz them with my jalapeƱo vinegar mixture and the squirrels ate all my flowers. I never did figure out the perfect routine or recipe to make those plants flourish, though they did bear us some treats in the end. However, with dirt under my nails, I did find my own footing in our new life. I found my confidence in my new roles, I found familiarity in our favorite meals, and we made a new normal.

Not the garden of our old home, my pots on the balcony ended up teaching me a thing or two about letting go of expectations. Its also helped me to dream even bigger about what I hope to create when we have the room here. While it might never come as easy as it did out East, it’s okay. I continue to grow, and eventually, my garden will again too. 


A piece I wrote for submission elsewhere that didn't end up being used. I bring it to you here, and as a gift back to myself! I had forgotten what I had written, and it came back to me at a time when I needed it. Funny how that works sometimes. 

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