If Only I May Grow

If only I may grow:
firmer, simpler-
quieter, warmer.

– Dag Hammarskjold

This morning some kids in the neighborhood came by on their bikes to see if Claire wanted to play. She didn’t. What she wanted was to stay home, and hang. But she went for a short while because they’d stopped by the day before and she didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

I didn’t know any of this until she got back and joined me in the garden. A first. Claire pushed the blue kerchief off of her brow and began filling the yellow bucket with mulch. Then she started talking about feeling responsible for other people and how she finds herself worrying about what they think. I said,”I know how that is, Claire. This stuff takes practice.”

We mulched around the irises and tiger lilies, chatting about ways to stop feeling like we need to explain everything all the time, and how to be more comfortable with ourselves. Claire leaned on her shovel and said, ” Dad says don’t worry yourself about it, Claire. But maybe we can talk about this some more, Mom, because I just need to.”

“Me too,” I said.

It was a good day spent in the yard; weeding, mulching, raking, clearing branches, moving stones, talking some. There’s not much more to say.

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