My Best Life-Growth: August, 2013

From my first day teaching to mothering in Nicaragua, living my best life means embracing growth in all it’s subtle forms.

I first felt like a grown-up…

when I started teaching, back in early 1991.

Jen first day teachingCollege wasn’t easy for me, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was and where I was going. Ultimately, I found myself in a credential program teaching 7th grade. To my great surprise, I loved the kooky age group, and when I was offered a job teaching 7th grade English at a brand new school, I was thrilled. I remember my first day so clearly-what I wore (purple, because it was the school colors – ugh!), my nervousness, the over-planning, the exhaustion, the adrenaline, the absolute weirdness of being called “Miss Mason” by groups of kids not much smaller than me! Over the 22 years I’ve been teaching, I’ve experienced tremendous growth, but still get that first-day-of-school tingle when I know I’m meeting kids for the first time!

If I could make anything grow on trees, it would be…

time.

Cameron age 2I’d like to be able to pick a few minutes or hours or days off branches right outside my study window. I’d love to be able to go back to those lazy summer days of my childhood, when it seemed like all I had was time and couldn’t wait to go back to school to fill up my days. I’d love to stop time and buy those minutes back from my babies’ childhoods, those times when they were screaming and fussing and I didn’t know what to do, just that I wanted it to stop. Their growth as humans measures my time as their mother; now that they’re plugged in and heading into their lives independent of me, I’d love to have more time to be with them before they head off into the world without me.

My last growing pain was…

this summer, when I had to stretch outside my proverbial box and trust that everything would be OK.

Nicaragua Lily and CameronIn Nicaragua, I had to trust that my kids were strong, smart, and capable of traveling in a foreign country without me hovering all the time. I needed to let myself grow into trust, knowing that all would be well, and that they were learning valuable lessons right along with me.

I use my “green thumb” to…

bring beauty into the world.

gardenI can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a garden-first it was at my parent’s one-acre lot, where my dad would plant rows and rows of vegetables. I remember spending so many summer days happily moving hoses and scampering around in the dirt. My grandma Flossie was the consummate gardener – so much so that she carried around pruning shears in her purse to take slips of plants that she found on her daily walks. When I finally purchased my first house, the first thing we did was plant and landscape a blank plot of dirt into a beautiful Monet-inspired garden, complete with a brick patio and retaining wall built by hand. Today, as I write, I look out my second-story window and see hummingbirds feasting on Buddleia bushes and Stargazer lilies, old-fashioned roses blooming alongside gorgeous, droopy lavender Russian sage. My morning blooms make me happy, and digging in the dirt centers my soul.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe at jenniferwolfe.net.

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    1. Oh Gwen, thank you. My garden is my refuge, my anchor. I know someday when my kids are out of the house it will be what fills my soul. I love your comment about their birth direction- I do believe strongly that they are on their life path and will find their way. I love watching them grow and discover as they do! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. -Jennifer

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