I sit here looking out my window at my garden, and I remember.
I remember when I looked out my window on April 7, 2002. (It's in my pregnancy journal.) It was a Saturday, and I was in my second trimester with my first baby. In those days, I was convinced I was fragile and shouldn't lift a finger.
My husband was outside, moving dirt around to start a garden in front of our house. Our house hadn't been built more than a year ago, so he basically followed the dirt lines left by the construction/landscaping crew.
I knew the dirt wasn't very good, and I didn't have the first inkling about how to make something grow anyway. After a trip to Home Depot, stupidly asking no questions, I chose to begin with 2 azalea bushes and 2 rhododendrons.
One rhododendron died almost on contact with the dirt. I really have no idea why one grew and the other did not. The azaleas fared better. I learned later that azaleas love the acidy soil that is plentiful around our house.
That summer, I gave birth to our first child. It's a good thing azaleas are perennial, because I did not have time to fuss over flowers. Time passed and I bore two more children while the azaleas faithfully returned each year to mark the end of April/beginning of May. Since two of my babies were born in April, there were a few years that I didn't even notice the blooms.
But a funny thing happened when the kids all made it to school age. I bought a recliner and put it in the living room by the window so I could do my writing with a beautiful view. For about a week or two each year, my window would be filled with plentiful pink flowers.
I rarely get to look out the window at them. Beginning of May is softball season, soccer season, concert season, Mother's Day, and a couple of birthdays.
As I write this, it's spring again, so just the other day, I looked out my window to see the azaleas blooming before I headed out to a 4th grade concert. The flowers were a blur. It's tough to see clearly through tears in my eyes.
You see, the last time my azaleas were blooming, I was on my way to a special "tea" to celebrate the end of my youngest's year in kindergarten. And now, all of a sudden, I am going out to celebrate my middle child's last few days in elementary school.
My children age like there's nothing to it. (I guess there really isn't, as far as they can see.) But the azaleas come back just the same every year. I will look out my window in just a few years to see the same azaleas, only they will be in the background of my oldest's prom pictures. Same flowers that struggled to come out just before she was born. But the child in the foreground is different.
Looking at the pretty pinks is becoming harder and harder. They announce the close of another school year. But they are the anchor of anything static in my ever-changing family.
The kids are growing, and I love that. It's just going to come as a shock one day to look out the window at the azaleas and not have to run to an end of the year concert. I won't know what to do, but at least I will have the azaleas there to look at.
Welcome to May. I will be looking out my window to see azaleas coming and going again, bowing away to give the limelight to the rhododendrons. Soon the rhododendrons will pass, too, so the butterfly bush can carry the summer.
But I won't forget the beautiful blooms from early spring. Even though they only lasted a few weeks. I know they will be back again in a year. It won't look exactly the same - nothing is ever the same - but they will be there. The kids inside the house guarded by the flowers will be much different, I'm sure. But, for now, they are still there as well.
So, good bye, for today, azaleas. I have a concert to go to. I don't have any time this year to see how you've grown. But your time will come, as my Lord wills it. I will be back to you before we know it.
Passion Under Grace,