Farming, Motherhood & what children and plants teach us about growth

Waylon was born in the yurt our first year running Good Heart.  This photo is of the actual day he was born.

I’m in the kitchen as I write this, a cup of tea next to me

(english breakfast with a splash of milk), the sky brought in close with reams of fog draped over the farm and valley beyond.  Inside, garlic is curing on racks, the sink is full of dishes, and I’m caught between the quiet space of morning and the bustle to come.

Yesterday Waylon turned 5, and in another handful of hours we’ll be celebrating with a party.  A pirate piñata is hanging, waiting to be stuffed with treasure, while bags of cocoa and flour wait to be transformed into cupcakes.

But right now I’m stretching out the quiet a little longer—

Remembering 5 years ago: 19 hours of labor that led to the final moment of ease as his body slipped into the world.  How it felt he poured out like a fish in a waterfall. How surprising it was to feel ease after the crashing waves of contractions.

A week after he was born, I wrote:

Waylon’s birth changed me in a way that has no words.  Everything but breath and love fell away. Even in the pain I could breath, I had to breathe, and through the pain I found release.  It was the biggest letting go of my life–my body physically opening to let this being that grew inside me out into the world. So it is that birth has taught me the first lesson of motherhood: letting go.

Letting go brought Waylon into this world.  Letting go brought love, space and peace. May I remember this always, especially when I try to grasp onto him as he grows and needs to expand or contract without us.  Let me always remember how we did it together–how I had to push, how he had to leave my body to meet my eyes, how we had to put space between us to know each other in a profound new way.

Pregnancy, giving birth, mothering, farming, they all teach me the same thing: growth is a conversation between tending, holding, and letting go.  

We have to let our children fall down so they may learn to walk.  We have to harden off the seedlings before transplanting them out to the field.  

And then it’s out of our control—we don’t know what stumbles will come, what storms will fall.

We know only that growth depends on our consistent love and our consistent space.  On the understanding that we’ll be here to help, and that we cannot interfere with the independence of a child learning their own footsteps, a plant setting down its roots and reaching up its leaves.

This is coming out more bumbly than I want.  But now Waylon is up, and the cupcakes need to be made, and my tea cup is empty.  

I guess it comes down to this balance.

The pull between stillness and movement.  The desire for closeness and space. The transition from quiet morning to full, bountiful day.

May you have a bountiful day.  May you find the space and the connections that fill your soul.

May we all find the balance of growth.

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