Grow Your Own Way

We spent some time recently on Washington’s San Juan Islands. For a couple days, we poked around the sleepy island with generous, kind friends who call the island home for part of the year. We paddled in and out of a quiet bay as sea otters swam next to us. We roasted marshmallows until they became mini flaming comets at the end of our sticks. Adellyn played her little heart out and become one with her inner nature-girl self, picking up bugs and searching for lost treasure, while I took some time to exhale.

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It was Sunday. The kids were occupied and I found a few minutes to sneak off to soak up the quiet on the back deck and have coffee with my Maker. It was also Mother’s Day, and I was reflecting upon the journey called motherhood. I was thanking God for my beautiful, bubbly, bright little girl that He’s entrusted me to raise, and for the opportunity to be a mom, no matter how hard or trying or long some of the days or seasons can feel. I was also thinking about all of the things I want to teach my little girl as she grows.

And it was then when I looked up and saw this:

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There, just off the deck was a little collection of trees, a “forestette,” if you will. The view was gorgeous and peaceful and wouldn’t have been the same if just one of those trees was missing. However, in the midst of the forestette, one tree was simply not like the others. It was bold and beaming and beautiful. And it was that one tree that decided to grow its own way that glimmered in the sunlight.

And awestruck over the view, I was also awestruck over the analogy literally right before my eyes. Never before have I seen so clearly how beautiful bold independence can be. Just like this tree, I want to teach my daughter to be bold and brave and unique because there is such beauty there. I want to remember that and I want you to remember that, too.

My life doesn’t fit in any box anymore. For a long time, it bothered me. However, getting out of a box has opened up opportunities and relationships and experiences to be had that never, ever could have happened if I was still in a little box. And I’d actually contend that none of us are ever in a little, perfect box. I’d also take it one step further and say that at our core, most of us don’t want to be in a box anyway.

It’s easy, I get it, to compare ourselves to you name it: the neighbor, the friend, the moms at the playground, the other guys on the team. But man, look at those trees. If we need any reminder how beautiful we each are when we fully embrace us, let the trees speak.

So, let’s embrace our quirks, our hair color, our skin color, our curves. Let’s celebrate you being you and me being me. Let’s cheer on people when they are wholly them – from hitting a home run or spending their days making a house a home. Instead of trying to keep up with Jones’ or the whoever’s, what if we just lived fully present right where we are with our beautiful, quirky selves in the midst of communities of others who are being their beautiful, quirky selves.

There’s a saying about if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound. I say, who the heck cares if the tree falls or not, that one tree, growing its own way has spoken volumes of into my life. It has made a sound alright. And we will too.

Here’s to growing our own way, friends, and teaching our kiddos to do the same.

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