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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survival Stories: Don't Yell at the Flowers

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Survival Stories: Don't Yell at the Flowers

I'm overdue in posting something here, which really hurts me more than anyone since writing is so therapeutic to me.  Chalk it up to a stressful home purchase, moving, and trying to get settled in before school starts on August 13, but I haven't sat down to write in months.

A conversation I had with my children over the summer has stuck in my mind, though, and I think it's applicable to nearly everyone, in every stage of life.  Our son is nine; he is a bright, funny, friendly kid, but he inherited impatience from both my husband and myself.  Not surprisingly, it is his only sibling, our four-year old daughter, who tests his patience the most.  One day, he was particularly exasperated with her, and he moaned to me, "Mommy, why can't she just grow?  Why does it take so long?  When will she change?"

Many replies ran through my head, but as I was picking the right one, I saw a pot outside by my parents' pool.  In it were some zinnia seeds my daughter and my dad had planted a few weeks before.  The stems were getting higher, the buds getting more ready to bloom, but they weren't quite ready.  I pointed this out to our son, L, and asked him if the flowers would bloom sooner if we went outside and yelled at them, the way he felt like yelling at his sister.  He laughed, and agreed that yelling at flowers to grow would only make us look foolish.  I told him that he should try thinking of his (fierce, strong, vocal, determined) sister as a flower.  She is growing, but in her own time.

I think L understood what I was trying to teach him, though patience with Little A continues to be a big growing point.  Since then, though, I've realized how often I've tried to yell at the flowers, so to speak.  From little things to big, I somehow have this notion that my timetable is the best, the only way to go.  No matter what your spiritual leanings, I think we can all agree that none of is in charge here.  Things happen that we can't control, people do things that let us down, change happens slowly or not at all...if we are the yelling-at-flowers type, we will get torn up inside.  It's a tiring and unhealthy way to live.

As I've walked beside my husband through medical school, a five-year residency, and now four years of private practice, there are so many things that I thought I wanted to change--how long it was taking, how hard it was, personal struggles, financial difficulties, uncertainty about big decisions--but when I look back, I can see that if those things, people, and situations had changed the way I thought they should have, then perhaps my husband and I (and our kids) wouldn't have grown and changed the way we were supposed to, either!

It's hard for L to have patience with his sister.  But I know he loves her, and I know that the patience he does show is growing, and it is developing deep kindness, endurance, humility, and a prayerful heart in this young boy.  Likewise, being married to a person pursuing a medical career is very hard, harder in some seasons than others.  But I know we love each other, I know his career is more of a calling than a choice, and I know that we are growing in amazing ways--as long as we stay quiet and stop trying to yell at the flowers!


I am a stay-at-home mom to a 9-year old/5th grade son and a nearly 5-year old/pre-K daughter.  My husband practices general ENT in the Sarasota, FL area.  We have been married for 13 years.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Lauren Hinton said...

Alison,
What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This came at the perfect time in my life as we are making our way through 4th year of medical school. It can be difficult not to "yell at the flowers".
We have two kiddos and live in Sarasota as well!
I would love your e-mail!

August 13, 2014 at 8:41 AM  

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