There’s a garden nearby where children play happily, never bickering or squabbling. They share nicely and politely. Always. They are impeccably dressed, no stains or tears in sight. The older help the younger and obviously enjoy each other’s company.
The yard is well-tended with beautiful flowers, neatly trimmed bushes, and lush lawns, all local, indigenous plants, grown organically. A fountain catches rain water and recycles it throughout the garden. The vegetable patch provides all the food the family needs, including milk from the goat in the nearby barn and fresh eggs from the adorable chicken coop that guards the garden gate.
In the center of the property is a gazebo with a round picnic table where feasts are served three times a day, all well-balanced and elegantly prepared. And, of course, the children eat neatly and politely without complaint. Not that they would have anything to complain about, regardless, no picky eaters live here.
Nearby under a weeping willow, is a large hammock, heaped with soft pillows. Adjacent stands a sturdy table piled high with books. The mother begins to read aloud and the children flock to her. When she’s not reading to them, they devour every book in sight, from Good Night, Moon to Augustine’s Confessions. One child recites Plato while another practices her Spanish.
When they tire of reading and recitation, the children turn to athletics. They’re all captains of their respective sports teams.
If not a ball, bat, or racquet, each plays beautifully on a musical instrument.
This garden is never untidy, has never known chaos, has never heard a harsh word or even an angry glance.
This garden doesn’t exist.
It’s a figment of our imaginations. And it is a source of Mom guilt if you’ve ever found yourself comparing your mothering prowess to that of another or to a small portion of this fictitious vignette.
No mom can be everything. No mom can provide every possible experience and benefit to her children. No mom is perfect.
Look for the beauty, rugged though it may be, in your garden. Nurture it. Water it. Find out who you and your husband and your children are together — as a family. Cultivate that unique creation. And enjoy the days because they pass oh, too quickly.
The most beautiful garden is the one that God plants specifically for you.
This is an ongoing series. If you missed the first installment, you can go back to the beginning.