My husband is a firm believer in hard work for the whole family. This past Saturday he and I, along with my two reluctant girls, spent what could have been a lazy Saturday in the hot sun doing yard work. Five hours later, itchy, aching and dehydrated, I reflected on what a good day it had actually been. What made it such a great day? Well, not only does our yard look fabulous, but I actually got some quality time with my daughters.
At first all I heard was, “I’m tired!” “I don’t feel good!” “Why do we have to do this?” Once we really got working though, our conversations became meaningful. My youngest followed me around the yard, holding a bag for me to toss the weeds into. We noticed we hadn’t seen the neighbors’ dog and started talking about how much we missed our pooch that died this past June. We talked about where we think dogs go when they die and how even though they may not have a soul, they certainly have personalities and offer us unconditional love. My daughter explained that she liked to think of our Shiloh waiting by Rainbow Bridge, and “walking up to the gates of heaven with me, and playing with our dog Eden and papa’s dog that died.” Without judgment, I let her know what a lovely thought that was. She was confident in expressing herself, and trusted me to respond in kind. Sorting out our feelings and expressing them to each other gave each of us a sense of honor and acceptance. Sharing is therapeutic!
We also talked about the sadness in our home since our eldest decided he didn’t care to live here anymore and the importance of our choices and consequences. It was a good lesson for her to understand that when we make choices, we have to be responsible for them and own the consequences that come with them. It’s a sad thing to think of someone you love making a choice you don’t agree with, but that’s what growing up is all about.
As we continued to pull weeds, I thought about how we have to learn to work with the bad stuff, like weeds, so the good stuff can continue growing.