A few weeks ago my husband and I were taking a walk around our property and looking at our apple trees. This is the first year we have seen blossoms on them, and I can’t wait to taste the fruit of his labor. We bought them approximately five years ago and since then, my husband has been nurturing, feeding, protecting, and lovingly taking care of them in order to produce some great tasting apples. Feeding our family healthy food is important to us, and how better than to grow it ourselves, knowing exactly what was put into it in order to reap the results?
It got me thinking about how similar children are to apple trees. It took my husband five years of hard work before he started to see any fruits for his labor (literally and figuratively speaking). And, isn’t that how it is with children? When they are first born, they are helpless, completely dependent on their parents for food, shelter, protection, love, and security. They are weak, needing to grow bigger and stronger in order to be able to survive in the world on their own. And we as parents lovingly take on the challenge to provide all of our children’s needs without asking for anything in return, knowing that one day they will fulfill their purpose in life in part because of our hard work and dedication to helping them develop the traits necessary for a successful life.
Once the fruit starts developing on the trees, my husband isn’t finished. He has to continue to prune, water, feed, and protect the trees until they reach full maturity, and that is going to take many more years.
The same with our children. Even though they start to produce fruit and productivity in their lives at a young age (seen through kind words, responsibility of completing chores, and compassion towards others), they still have a lot of growing to do before they are fully mature, ready to handle life as an adult. More sacrifice, hard work, love, and protection is needed by us, as parents, before our children are ready to step out in the world on their own. Again, we do this willingly, knowing the reward that is ahead if done right.
So, today, on Mother’s Day, I just want to encourage all us parents. When our children are little, we are in the season of hard work – sleepless nights, demands on our time and energy, and lots of hands-on instruction. However, if we continue to provide the structure, boundaries, protection, and love required, there will come a day when we can sit back to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Just like my husband is looking forward to years from now when he can go and just pick an apple off the tree without having to nurture it as a seedling anymore, we will also hopefully reap the benefits of our hard work through a friendship with our kids and maybe even eventually grandchildren. Until then, let’s all encourage each other together through the sleepless nights (both in the infant and teenager stages), puberty, endless homework, and high grocery bills. While we are at it, let’s take the time to enjoy these stages since they are fleeting and will disappear long before any of us honestly want them too.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom who helped me become the “apple tree” that I am today. And, thanks to my “other mother” who developed and protected and loved my husband as well!