I sliced open the third apple of the snack hour and began removing the core and the skin for the picky eaters at my table.
Suddenly there it was, staring up at me. A tiny little seed inside the apple had sprouted, and a little apple tree was already in the beginning stages of its life.
“Let’s plant it!” yelled the homeschooling mama who always yells things like that with great anticipation in her heart and voice.
It spent the first year of its life as a tree living in a little jam jar on the counter.
The next year it needed a bigger plot of land, so we moved it to a little pot on the patio.
Every fall we have watched it lose its leaves and survive the winter as a spindly little set of branches… And then spring hits and the buds start and I get so excited, and every year it grows taller and fuller and this year I even dared to prune it.
This apple tree still hasn’t grown a blossom, let alone an actual apple, but every year we have hope.
Watching it grow. It’s a slow journey that requires watering and patience, good soil, sunlight, and TIME.
I have watched a lot of things grow throughout my lifetime, but it’s only in the past few years that I have begun to see the intense beauty of the process itself.
I’ve watched myself grow. Literally and figuratively. I’ve grown in ways that I didn’t even know I could.
Pregnancy made me grow four times over. I felt each one of my babies growing bigger and stronger every single day INSIDE OF MY OWN BODY. It never gets less weird and less incredible to me that doing that is a normal part of existence. A miracle in itself, all of these cyclical life processes.
I’ve watched my kids grow, sometimes even overnight.
“Your pants look too short today! What happened while you were sleeping?”
“I don’t know, but my legs are so sore… can I have another muffin? I’m so hungry…”
Yesterday our 8 year old biggest boy had a blazing high fever. He took a midday nap, the first one in years. So inevitably, he joined us as we watched TV later that evening until 10 pm.
He sat there in the almost darkness, perched on the edge of the couch, just long arms and legs in a manly heap before me. His face looked strong and mature and yet youthful. It’s the face he’ll have now as he moves completely into manhood. It’s remarkable how far we’ve come together, and how much we’ve watched him grow, and to also think of how much more he will STILL grow.
So that apple tree… My dream is to one day move it to a house with a little yard and plant that sucker right into the dirt myself.
And then I hope I get to see it thrive and grow into a huge strong tree.
But guess what. That tree wouldn’t have been anything without first spending time in the jam jar, and now inside the pot on the patio.
Growth can’t skip the steps and stages, it needs all of them to develop to full maturity.
So for now I’ll keep on watering and waiting. I’ll keep choosing to be patient, and I’ll keep getting excited when new buds show up every spring.
And I’ll simply continue to enjoy watching it grow.