Monday, February 18, 2008

My Mother's Day azalea is blooming

Hi! Welcome to my brand-new blog. I figured it was time to enter the new century, right? I hope that this blog will be a good way to share my thoughts, ramblings and the ups-and-downs of daily life. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

I'm a thirty-something Mom of 2 boys, and both were born very prematurely because I suffered from severe preeclampsia in both pregnancies. My oldest son, Andrew, has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome (on the autism spectrum) and my youngest, Ethan, is barreling towards a diagnosis of ADHD.....emphasis on the "H" part.

Almost 3 years ago, my husband gave me an unconventional Mother's Day present: an azalea plant. We live in South Carolina, specifically right outside of a town called Summerville--basically, the world capital of azaleas. I'm well known for my black thumb, which kills every plant I come in contact with. But I figured I'd try to keep this little azalea alive for as long as I could.

I kept it in the original flowerpot for a while, then it started wilting. I planted it at the left-front corner of our house, and made a little decorative brick border around it, then waited. It struggled mightily for a while, but it seemed that whatever I did was wrong. I watered it too much; I didn't water enough. It turned brown, leaves fell off and branches became crunchy and brittle. I kept pruning off the dead parts, hoping something would make it through.

Around this same time, you could say my life was mirroring that of the poor little azalea plant. I was just being confronted with Andrew's diagnosis, and micropreemie Ethan wasn't eating, wasn't gaining weight, etc. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders, and was failing at it. I went into a very dark period of depression, and my life nearly fell apart. I was just sure I couldn't "do this".....being a mom of special-needs kids and dealing with the loss of the kind of pregnancies and parenting I'd expected to have.

Thanks to a wonderful doctor who took me seriously, and to the wonderful cyber-friendships I've made, I've bounced back and made tremendous progress since that time. Things aren't perfect, guess they never will be. But, I pruned off some "dead parts" and kept pushing on, and that's really all that any of us can do, isn't it?

Last year, when spring arrived, I couldn't even see the remnants of the azalea plant. The flower bed had filled in with weeds, and they were crowding out the little azalea shoots........but some heavy weeding cleared things out for the last little surviving buds of hot-pink azalea flowers. I think we actually got one good blossom out of it last year.

Now it's 2008. Andrew's doing superbly in first grade, winning awards and growing taller by the day. Ethan's slowly making progress, thanks to omega-3 supplements, and his weight is finally on the charts! And my Mother's Day azalea? Even during the coldest parts of winter, I saw it growing.......steadily, slowly, pushing on and putting out new leaves. And now it's blooming! The plant still has a long way to go, and there may still be brown leaves and wilted blossoms in its future, but for tiny flower bed is filling with hot-pink blooms, and I like to think that the revival of that plant represents something similar for me.


Jen said...

Oh goody! I get to be your first comment. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, Jen.

Your post reflects your beautiful nature Jen. Your reflection upon yourself is what makes you a great mom. I know that plant will keep flowering even if it really turns out to be your confidence. Love ya!

I'm so glad you'll be journaling your thoughts here in cyberspace.


Amy said...

I'm so glad to see you have joined the blogosphere! Beautiful post Jen, I'm looking forward to many more!

tafkalorelei said...

Welcome to the blogging world chica. I think you will love it here! Lovely first post! Love and cowbells!

~Denise~ said...

your blog looks great!!!