The dance of growth

This little baby of mine somehow just turned 13 years old.  It seems impossible to believe that my mild-mannered, inordinately kind, wildly smart, curly-blonde-haired, chubby little baby boy has “officially” become a strong, fit, and very tall teenager. But somehow it’s true.  This is him.

My little man-child.

It’s already a momentous birthday, but it was punctuated by the strange timing of the latest turn in events in the adventurous story of “his tree”.   This is the tree he once needed a boost to climb.  It’s one of the trees I wrote about in “Move the trees“.   More recently, it’s the tree I wrote about in “Let it rain.”  It all started in 2006 with the planting of a large live oak tree to commemorate the birth of this baby boy.  We transplanted the tree last summer when we moved and it somehow collected too much water from the fall to the spring, causing it to eventually drown.  It was such a beautiful tree, we planted it as the focal point of all the windows in the house.  From the moment you walk in the front door, the intention was to see this sprawling oak tree.

A symbol of our family history.

So you can imagine the image of this dead, once-sprawling oak tree as the focal point of our views since April.  It may sound dramatic, and that’s fine.  But it’s been cause for mourning for us.  It’s been like the view of a dream that died, displayed on center stage from every window.  We’ve been working hard to find a suitable replacement tree and coordinate all the things to make the switcheroo.  We had rain delays and crane delays, but finally, the date was set.

The new tree would arrive 2 days before his 13th birthday.

The new tree arrived on the semi and the crew showed up early to prep this tree for removal.  But as soon as the giant crane finally arrived, it became clear we had a problem.  The empty lot behind us, that we’d negotiated terms to use for the operation, was apparently too soft for the crane to navigate.  As the crane drove away, my heart sunk again.

It turns out, they’ll be able to get it in another way, but for the time being, we will just have to wait.

Now instead of a simple dead tree in the yard, we have full on chaos back there for a couple of weeks.  The side fence was taken down, there’s a giant trench around the base of the tree, lined with orange construction fencing and the dirt is piled high.  Just when we thought we were on the final stretch, things took a seemingly wrong turn.  Like it had to get worse before it could get better.

And so we’ll wait.

Right now.  Right here in the messy middle.  We can see where we’ve been.  The mess is all around us reminding us of the struggle.  We know where we’re going, but we’re not sure when we’re going to get there.  The summer heat keeps turning up, sending warnings of a possible threat to our already-harvested new tree.

It’s the natural cadence of the dance of growth.

I bet you know this dance.  You have a vision of where you want to be.  You know exactly how it should all go down.  But life rarely happens the way you plan.  Sometimes you have to stare down the difficulties in your life for much longer than you’d like.  Sometimes it feels like it’s all you can see.  Even when you have the best-laid plans, things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would.  Today, I hope you’ll let this story of this growing boy and this tree be a reminder to you.

You’re growing.

Sometimes growth requires letting go.  Sometimes it takes unexpected turns.  Sometimes there is waiting in the messy middle.  Sometimes you’re required to get okay with where you are before you can take the next step forward.

Growth is like a dance.

Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it’s two back and one forward.  Sometimes it’s to the side, or a quick spin all the way around.

Don’t quit because you’re tired (or dizzy).

Keep taking the next right step.

The dance of growth is often hard, but it’s always worth it.

to more love,


p.s.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the full movie,  “Crazy, Stupid, Love” we’ll be watching together next Thursday night at Chick Flick GNO, but I know growth through the mess is certainly one of the redeeming themes of the film!  I hope I get to share the night with you.  Tickets are still available here.

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