Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gardening. // Continuing to write when words fail me.

I love documenting life through photography, how pictures can tell a story or capture a moment. The photographs from my current season of life serve much better to show the beauty I have found in motherhood than a slew of words hazily strung together through a mind barely functioning without sleep.

And yet, still I am drawn to document through writing, because I know that photographs only tell part of a story. Like the story of this particular afternoon spent in the garden. For the first time in our lives, our garden is actually thriving thanks to the efforts of Matt. It turns out that when one is overwhelmed with raising two young children, a nice escape is raising a garden. Perhaps a garden is less capricious than an almost three year old and a baby.

Everett has actually helped a lot in the garden and likes to give all visitors to our home a tour of his growing fruits and vegetables. Each night before bed, he looks out the window, half in pride and half in an effort to delay bedtime with yet another tactic, to “check on” his garden.

The teacher side of me appreciates the hands on learning taking place, especially since Everett isn’t in school right now, and the mother side of me is grateful for the father-son bonding happening over shovels and dirt and seeds.

So I take pictures to document their gardening, and I try to get in a few photos myself, because I know this is a season of life I want to look back on one day and remember, even though I feel more vulnerable in front of the camera lens than behind it. Perhaps that is why it is important to do- to embrace who I am at this moment, instead of picking apart my imperfections or finding ways I can be better. I am doing the best I can. 

These pictures make gardening look somewhat magical. After taking a family field trip to our local nursery, we hung out in the yard together during the golden hour. As I said, photographs don’t reveal the entire story. In between the first few photographs and the rest, Cambria had a complete diaper blowout that required a change of pants. About an hour later, long after we put the camera away, we were chatting with our neighbors who discovered I also had poop on my shirt from the blowout but hadn't noticed. Of course, those moments aren’t pictured, because they are gross, but this is why I think it is important to continue to photojournal. I love taking pictures, but they only reveal part of the story.


The truth is I'm embarrassed of my blog and my writing. It's all a mumble jumble of thoughts filtered through a deeply sleep deprived brain. I like the photos and hope they are evidence of the joy we experience, because in this season of life words continue to fail me. Ironically, I am an English teacher, which makes the situation even more painful, because I think I used to be better at writing. I also think of what I tell my students who think they aren’t good at writing. There are no good or bad writers, the important thing is just to write. Fake it till you make it. The only way to get better at writing is to practice.

I do know that writing is good for my soul wherever I find myself on this journey of life, and currently where I find myself is in motherhood.


I ask myself these questions: Is there a purpose to doing something badly if it brings us joy? Yes. Does practicing writing help us to become better? Yes. Does writing help me process life and my experience in a healthy way? Yes. So I take my own advice and just keep writing, even when it feels uncomfortable and messy.
We love our local nursery:

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