The fruits of my labor

”So what you really love is watching things grow?” My therapist used a dry, rational tone, not minding that I was weeping, dry-heaving and sweating all over my body.

”Yes” I said, and then I realized I meant it. Yes – I love watching things grow. I love tending them. I love the process, seeing things become something out of nothing. Something out of pain or suffering even. That gives me purpose. That gives me a reason to be.

I love gardening because of this.

I love having kids because of this.

I love having pets, and not just any pets – pets that need a loving home, that need the love and patience that we can give them.

And I love finally getting to see the fruits of my labor.

Like this little bunny here – he was so afraid and traumatized when we got him this summer, but now he is the happiest bunny in the world!

”Your daughter has so much emotional intelligence.”

”He is such a special teenager.”

”Nobody is more helpful than he is.”

This is why I became a parent. The foundation was given to me by a loving family who let me be myself and let me grow up seeing all the ways a single person can make a difference. How one person can become a positive influence on the world simply by becoming one who enjoys the whole process of watching things grow, even if it entails having seeds that don’t germinate metaphorically or concretely, rabbits and hamsters that die, children that throw tantrums and say they hate you, even hit you and threaten to kill you.

One day it was my turn to be the next generation, the supposed adult.

I read so many books when we had our first child, and among them  ”7 habits of highly successful families” by Stephen R. Covey. Although I didn’t agree with everything the author said, one thing stuck in my mind – successful families are those that have a long-term goal in mind. The author had somehow managed to formulate something that had been on my mind since I was little – that we need to look to the future as well as to the present when our kids are small in order to get where we want to be.

I had a long talk with Niklas and we formulated our goals for our family, and despite them not being realized every step of the way, they have been there in the back of our minds all the time as a beacon. And now it feels as if we already have almost reached our destination.

Suddenly we have kids who enjoy playing outside. Who enjoy board games. Who can solve problems by talking. Who can stand being bullied in school, but still don’t let that define themselves as persons.  Who dares be different and be themselves.

We can almost see the adult versions of them already. They’re not perfect – but neither of us are perfect, and that is how things should be. But all the hard work that especially I have put in seems to actually pay out dividends.

So is it worth it, to have sleep disorders, all kinds of stress-related symptoms and not have any money saved up for my retirement or even a tiny career to talk about? Is it worth all the agony, all the endless days where the only thing I could even think about was to remember to breathe?

Absolutely.

Because I love watching things grow, and I can finally see the fruits of my labor. And sometimes the harder you have had to work for something – the more precious it seems.

 

 

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