Yelling at Seeds to Make Them Grow

It’s already mid-May, which means the birthday onslaught has begun. This is a period when half of my loved ones celebrate a birthday within days of each other. I remembered this fact today as I picked up the phone to wish my brother a happy 47th. I am only a few years younger, but I will always feel like he towers above me in years and in wisdom. That’s kind of nice. To have someone who always makes you feel “little.”

So, here we are, in May. My semester has ended. The tree lights are off the tree. And the ornaments are being put away. Or so it feels, a bit. It’s time to let loose for the summer. To pull out sandals and let my pixie hair down. Only, it’s been 50 degrees and rainy most of the month.

If you have been reading my posts regularly, you know how much of a tumultuous ride this school year was for me: the intensity of balancing work duties and mom duties in the fall, a Christmas break where I furiously planned for a course that ended up getting cancelled, and then, death arrived at my family’s doorstep, without warning. Without time. I am still coming to terms with that one.

What my young, 31-year-old cousin’s death has pushed me to do is: spend more time writing. This is likely why you haven’t seen me around these parts as much recently. I have been doing some more ambitious writing, developing previous ideas, in hopes of getting some pieces published. I got my first rejection notice the other day, but they liked the piece a lot. It just wasn’t developed enough. And I got that right away. I even secretly knew this when I submitted it.

Two great challenges in life are: having patience and taking baby steps. I have oodles of practice with both, but it’s still too easy to want immediate gratification. I have never been very disciplined with building anything slowly. This shows up in all aspects of my life.

I got tired of ripping apart too many sewing imperfections, so I stopped doing it. I used to play guitar until it got too hard. Until it got to the point where practicing daily wasn’t yielding quick enough results. I have not lived in the same residence for more than a few years or kept a job with one school or company for longer than five. In fact, each of the houses my husband and I have bought, we did so within a couple of weeks of searching. Mainly because we were impatient. (But I won’t bring his stuff into this.)

I am learning, however, and I am growing, even if slowly. This is one of my growing seasons. A season where I feel a real change is happening in the art of taking things slowly. In the art of building a foundation before laying any brick. Sure, it might take a few more rejection letters to teach me that I am still not putting enough effort or time in, but there are still signs of growth.

One clear sign is that I am going back to rewrite that piece because it has massive potential. I am still teaching at my college in the fall, too, despite frustrations with students and with myself that almost got the best of me. I am feeling more OK with the in-between stages. The acts of becoming.

After all, you can’t yell at seeds to make them grow (The Adventures of Frog and Toad).


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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

2 thoughts on “Yelling at Seeds to Make Them Grow

  1. I sympathize with the futility of raising your voice to get results. But I too have been poor at the ‘between’ phase, failing to exercise the completion muscle when necessary. A little flexing, though, has brought good results.


    1. Thanks, Pat. It’s so nice to have a sympathetic fellow writer! My flexing has in some ways been going on for decades, and in others, is just beginning. 🙂


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