|We're currently obsessed with the Aston/Long books. They are informative and beautiful and Keats loves learning all the different names.|
We are, as of now, calmly ignoring the fact that we have been ill. I declare us healthy and ready to face the world like the incalculable blooms and leaves popping forth everywhere I look. The animals on the farm are giving birth, the sky has turned a purplish shade of grey, and the green on the pussy willow bushes pops like never before.
It is so refreshing to see the farm start again. It brings a gravity to the seasons that I don't feel when I'm away. The lambs coming just on time, the kids nearby coming after, the leaves on the willow trees pushing out past their buds, and the wild mint showing itself at last. The fields of the surrounding farms are freshly tilled and ready for seeding. Keats points out all of the different machines with impressive accuracy and knows what they're each doing and why.
I've put in the fresh spring plantings in my parents' front garden and sowed seeds for summer. Next up is the back vegetable garden. We've got to put something new in the usual tomato planter and put the tomatoes in a different one to refresh the soil. Seeing as the tomatoes have always been in the same planter for as long as I can remember, this couldn't happen sooner. My parents have been good sports in letting me head up their garden this last year. It's good experience for me and with the flooding issues we've had at home, it's been the perfect gardening outlet while we get our own yard sorted. I spent most of my childhood weekends with my dad digging in the dirt so this continuation years later is fitting.
Birch has planted some radishes and other random seeds in random spots around the house "just to get something in the ground." Can you tell we have different project styles? I have to give it to him, he gets it done. I really am grateful for that. I overthink just about everything and Birch reminds me, gently, that sometimes it's just better to have completed a project than to have done it to our ideal standard. That is a hard lesson for me.
I've admitted to myself that I am a perfectionist. I have a pretty heavy fear of failure and so I obsess over a project so much that sometimes I never finish it purely because it's not coming together exactly as I envisioned. I never once submitted a philosophy paper in college for this very reason. Looking back I can see how ridiculous that is. I was terrified by the critique, but come on! It was a PHILOSOPHY paper. That critique was the point! In fact, even earlier in school I had this issue. I think my parents assume I just never did my homework. I never told them I just refused to submit it. The work that was genuinely difficult for me, I was too scared to ask for help. It didn't even occur to me that I might have a learning disability until college. Then, when I explained how I felt and thought about learning math and learning languages, my special education teacher of a husband just nodded and said, "Yeah, that's a learning disability." Oh, great. The point is: I could have had help when I was younger, but I was too afraid of failure. I was too afraid of not being smart! The truth is, struggling doesn't mean you are not smart. It doesn't mean you're worthless. It shouldn't be embarrassing. I could have asked for help, I could have been placed in a special education math class, I could have asked for intensive tutoring. There were things all of the adults in my life could have done differently, sure, but when it comes down to it, it was my failure to accept failure that led to my academic downfall. I just let myself get horrific grades and accepted the storm at home when that report card dropped in the mailbox. That attitude has permeated other parts of my life as well.
I didn't understand it then, but I do now. It's okay to not understand things, to have to work hard, to not be inherently gifted at what you're doing. The success you accomplish on completion is far more powerful than the success of a natural talent. I hope I can work through this enough to teach my children that trying is better than succeeding, enjoyment is better than easy, and most of what we really pine for in life takes hard work, focus, practice, and passion.
So while I plan out flood-proof planters for our vegetables and veggie/herb planters for the chickens and ducks to munch, Birch is busy checking his seedlings in the yard and pulling weeds when he finds them. Together we make a fairly effective team. We'll figure it out. We have time.
For now, I want to enjoy spring and practice my new life as a non-perfectionist. I'm not even going to look up the appropriate word for that.