When Small is Beautiful



My girl hasn’t thrown up in four solid days. I am so heartened by this new trend.

I am also heartened because we are finally getting E. into some doctors that will better address her needs. We were feeling like she was falling through the cracks with some of her providers—especially over the last six weeks when she’s really needed help. There are times that we have called the clinic’s nurse line and then no one would get back to us. Or, often, it would take five or so hours. After two phone calls. I’m not calling in about a hangnail, folks. My kid has been in scary rough shape with all of this puking and weight loss. So I’ve basically been filing in for my child’s primary care doctor, just doing what I think needs to be done. I am sorely under qualified for this position. We’ve switched pediatricians to a smaller group in an attempt to get her the care and attention that she requires.

When I went to see our Rabbi shortly after finding out E.’s diagnosis, she said to me (something like), “The first thing you need to do is gather up your team. And any provider who is not really on the team, just get them off of it and move on. Find someone else, someone great, who can help you.” Yes. So we are moving on.

The other thing that has been lifting my spirits is that I am actually gardening again. In a very small and manageable way. All flowers. There will be no utilitarian vegetables growing at our house this year (okay, there’s kale, but strictly for ornamental purposes). If I’m honest, I’m not even that into eating vegetables right now, unless they are hot and someone else is cooking them. This happens when I’m stressed.

I just want to grow flowers. Bright, impractical flowers so that I can gather big bunches in a simple glass jar and plunk them down on our kitchen table. Feel good flowers, like cosmos and dahlias and pink larkspur. And, if I get more than four or so blooms out of this project (which may or may not happen), flowers to give to the people who have helped us through this time. I want to make lots and lots of bouquets this summer.

This all is made possible because Cedar built me a little raised bed for Mother’s Day. I asked him to do it for me, because that’s sometimes how love works. You have to ask for what you want. And then recently, A. and I picked up a bunch of plant starts at the spring plant sale at his school. He was running around in circles trying to get me to buy every single plant there. I was very, very tempted but we stuck to our plan. This year, small in size, yes—but maybe next year it will all be bigger. E. and our harvest of sunflowers.

So now we have a bonafide garden, just like I used to before we had children, although this is a mini version. I like the idea of it and I like how it’s come together practically, too. Because I certainly can’t maintain a sprawling garden right now; it’s not even close. I can’t even find the time to put away the clean laundry. But I can maintain a wee flower garden.

With the very basic act of growing plants, I’m fighting for what I want most for my family. For us to take some time in the sun, for us to care for something outside of ourselves. For us to pay attention to how things change, how delicate it all is.

We are are still alive, we are still here. On a good day, we are outside near the nest of squirming baby robins that have made their home on our porch. We are pulling up weeds, taking in that warm earth smell. And, someday, we may just have a fistful of blooms to show for it.

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