Is It Too Late For A Late Bloomer To Bloom?

There’s something about the anonymity and diversity of living in a big city that gives me a sense of comfort and a feeling of fitting in, so when our two boys were approaching school age and my husband mentioned moving from Chicago to a small town, subdivision, I was apprehensive.

“How will I know which house is ours?” I wondered, trying to imagine a monster-sized crane, dropping a monster-sized-cookie-cutter-shaped house onto a large plot of land, in a semi-circle of no-where.

“You’ll love it,” he said.

“And so will the kids. The schools are great, the community’s great, the beach is a half-mile away, and, we’ll have a big backyard; we can plant a garden!”

I couldn’t keep plastic plants alive on our balcony.

But I married someone smarter than me, and kinder, who’s good at growing gardens and planting trees;

Who loves reminiscing about his mischievous boyhood endeavors, as he drives the long way through his old neighborhood to show me his childhood home, where the sound of the screen door slamming on the front porch followed him down the street on hot summer nights and the only thing on his mind, was riding bikes and playing with friends;

Friends, whose friendships remain some of his most cherished to this day.

If there was ever a good reason for trying to give our kids a chance to fit into fond-family memories and life-long friendships like that, this was it.

Hysteria Lane

I was cautiously optimistic, but committed to creating something new on a plot of unknown, uncharted territory, away from the noise and the city lights and the traffic.

I would find my way, and try to fit in.

Try to trust the process, and my instincts.

Embrace the opportunity to alter my position to the sun and my involuntary impulse for perpetual motion and change.

I would plant some roots.

Give them the opportunity to grow and expand and flower and bloom.

And embrace the opportunity to raise two busy boys, at a slower pace, in a small quiet town and a beautiful neighborhood.

So I hung some plants on our new balcony.

The Front Porch

And smiled at the thought of keeping them alive and the thought of fitting in.

All the other houses had plants on their porches; they still do.

Every summer, as far as the eye can see, big baskets of rich-lusciously-verdant plants, flower and bloom into vibrant bouquets and colorful rays of brilliance and beauty.

But no matter how committed and disciplined I was about giving them proper sunlight and accurate amounts of water, or how many mornings I stood on my tippy-toes, or climbed a ladder, or scaled the edge of the porch railing with a kinked-up hose, or a long-spouted watering can and a rivulet of water running down the inside of my arm:

They died.

So I bought more.

All summer long, for several summers.

I bought more and tried again to keep them alive, and to fit it.

But after several summers of sad dead flowers, a garden for the starvin’, successively severe winters, and the conflicts and chaos that come with the power struggles of marriage and children, I started to feel like living in a subdivision in a dead, dark, freezing-cold climate, was akin to living in a cemetery on a big, cold, gray-barren plot, with a house for a headstone.

I didn’t fit in at all, anywhere, with anyone.

Inside or outside.

In any season.

I was depressed and lonely and going through the motions for the sake of my family.

But it was the holiday season, and some happy person who likes Christmas invited me to a Cookie Exchange.

Good Cheer And All That Crap

I don’t like being forced to layer up to go outside, but the invitation got me out of my head and out of my bed.

And because I made a stupid, self-imposed rule about showing up to my own life, I agreed to go to this quid pro quo, “Ill give you my cookies, if you give me yours,” kind of party.

It was another chance to trust the process, to fit in, and have some fun.

One woman told me there were some other “Maureens” in the neighborhood, but I was the only one she’d met that went by “Mo.”

“One of the other Maureens lives right around the corner,” she said. “She always has dead plants hanging on her front porch in the summertime.”

“Oh, that’s me!” I said, proudly laughing at the absurdity of being known, but for my sad-dead-hanging-baskets-of-flowering-porch-plants.

She was embarrassed and extremely apologetic, but I was happy to make her acquaintance.

I tried to reassure her; I wasn’t the least bit offended.

I was glad to be laughing, but I think I scared her off when I told her I tried really hard to get them to look that way; all brown and dead.

They’re so pretty before they die.

Minutes later, she disappeared, leaving her half-eaten sugar cookie in the shape of a cookie-cut star, on a crumpled-up napkin that read:

“Joy To The World”

I never saw her again.

And I abandoned the hanging-baskets-of-flowering-porch-plants idea the following summer.

I tried hanging some lanterns with fake-flickering-flames instead, but fake wasn’t quite right either.

So I tried to be patient and wait for a sign.

“I’ll know it when I see it,” I thought.

And I did, literally.

It read:

“Be Nice Or Leave. Thank You.”

It hangs outside, as proudly as our flag and makes me laugh whenever I pull into our driveway.

Does Anyone Ever Really Fit In?

Or figure out how to?

Because every time I think I do, or I think I have, everything changes.

Fitting in isn’t about the place where I live or the house that I live in.

It’s not about the things I have on the inside or the plants I hang on the outside either.

And it’s not about discipline, or blending in – unless you’re in a police line up, I suppose.

It’s just the opposite.

It’s the feeling that arrives after I forget about trying to fit in.

When I decide to detach from the outcome of its pursuit.

When I stop to smell the roses and they smell like joy, the struggle for attention weakens and joy becomes enough.

Joy Is

Like a flower.

It’s true to itself.

It trusts the process by surrendering to it.

It doesn’t try to rise to the expectations of other flowers or worry about fitting into the world as a rose, or an orchid, or a wild flower because the world fits into a flower, like the ocean fits into a drop of water.

The flower accepts its invitation into the world, and, its one and only mission:

To Bloom!

Your Mission

If you choose to accept it, is to be more like the flower.

To trust life’s process and surrender to its struggles.

To work with what you have, instead of waiting for what you want – you only have today.

To remind yourself, there’s a difference between what others expect you to be and who you are – who you are, is up to you.

Accept your invitation to the world – you fit beautifully.

Return to the process of unfolding, and growing gracefully into the person you aspire to be; let go of the you of yesterday and let joy be your guide.

Maybe, in finding more joy, you will be more joyful.

And maybe, in being more joyful, you will find more joy.

Maybe I will too.

Until next time,

Put yourself squarely in charge of your mission – and bloom, in all your glory.

It’s never too late to bloom.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Humor Me With Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Responses to “Is It Too Late For A Late Bloomer To Bloom?”

  1. MhawksAugust 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m glad it’s not too late! The day I met you, when you were new, LOVE grew in the garden of forever. I love you. <3

    • MO VEARAugust 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks for nurturing and cultivating the garden! 🙂 I love you too. xoxox

  2. GTAugust 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Mo,
    The woman with the cookies and your “They’re so pretty before they die.” ; that was a laugh out loud moment for me.

    And if it is never too late, then I can still hope to bloom one day. But it better be soon!

    Your insights about flowers are appreciated. My experience is that in observing the realities of nature we also learn the nature of reality.

    Which of course is why Jesus was frequently teaching with nature; observe the birds, the trees, the flowers of the field “how they grow.”

    Good piece!

    • MO VEARAugust 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi GT,

      Glad to give you a laugh out loud moment! Like you, I appreciate nature more and more, for contemplation, and the lessons it teaches me. Thanks, as always, for reading and your thoughtful comments 🙂

  3. Tammy WanlessAugust 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

    You are an excellent writer. I have noticed your sign on your house before and I like it too!

    • MO VEARAugust 5, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi, Tammy! It’s so great to see you here! Thanks for reading and for the kind words. Im glad you like my sign. LOL 🙂

  4. Sue HeneghanAugust 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Very good read, Mo!! Love this and so true!

    • MO VEARAugust 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks, Sue. Love your feedback and appreciate your reading!!! xoxo

  5. Sherie McgowanAugust 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    Love your writing sweet sis….keep it up!
    Is the podcast up ?

    • MO VEARAugust 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

      Thanks, Sher! Always appreciate the feedback and encouragement. Podcast will happen, hopefully soon. I’m at the mercy of editor and time constraints, but will launch on iTunes in the next couple of months in conjunction with new website design that has a link to my podcast: Bite of Courage, so stay tuned! 🙂 xoxox

  6. Gay GodfreyAugust 7, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    Loved it Mo! The one thing we can all be sure of is that life is filled with change! Your take on life’s journey always makes me chuckle! Thank you!

    • MO VEARAugust 7, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks, Gay! Always appreciate your comments and feedback, and, I can hear your laugh whenever I think about you! LOL Thanks for getting my day off on the right foot, even if I’m always a little off balance! HA Have a great day! xoxo

  7. Denise NAugust 7, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    Brilliant piece Mo!
    (Yes, it’s me. I am still among the living.)

    I loved it. In fact, you speak to my truth. I, too, am a misfit. I was never a fit in my community, and I am comfortable with the fact that I will never fit in. Sometime ago I began to consider the plight of a dandelion. It blooms where it is planted, and I decided so shall I. Your reference to flowers is so poetic.

    You write with such grace and wit. Your posts encourage me every day.
    The sign is awesome. I smile every time I see it.

    Love, D.

    • MO VEARAugust 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi!

      It doesn’t look like my first reply posted – I’ve been having trouble with the “comment” section, which should be cleared up as soon as the new design is done.

      Thanks so much for the kind words and feedback. It’s encouraging to hear how different articles affect people, so I’m really grateful to hear. As you know, you’ve been a constant for me – no matter how much time passes – and a pillar of great strength and inspiration. I love that you mentioned the dandelion. I identify with it too; Frankly, I think it’s gotten a bad wrap. I like to think of it as a tiny sunflower, always leaning toward the Light – like you. xoxo

  8. mary ivanovichAugust 8, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Mo, you are a ray of sunshine…You have no idea how this touched me today…truly.
    God bless you and your familia..xoxo

    • MO VEARAugust 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

      Wow. And you probably have no idea how much it touches me to know. Seriously, Mare – every time I’m about to post, a low-grade dread and fear wash over me because I’m putting my thoughts/ideas/writing out there – like, who the heck am I? I’m trying to keep moving forward and through it, gritting my teeth as I try to trust this part of the process, so getting your comment made my day too, truly! It’s so encouraging! Thank YOU so much for reading and letting me know, and of course, please feel free to share/forward anytime! LOLOL

      Hope everything is great with you and that the kids are doing well. Please say hi to Danielle and that sweet sister of yours! xoxox

  9. PattiAugust 9, 2017 at 7:11 am #

    ????????

    • MO VEARAugust 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks, Patti! ‘Preceiate that! xo

  10. JerryAugust 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

    I love the sign on your porch! I love that it expects kindness and if it is a bit cheeky in its demand, well, some people need that kind of wake up call. That’s who you are and it doesn’t hurt to announce it from your front porch.

    • MO VEARAugust 10, 2017 at 11:37 am #

      Haaaa. Love your comment! Thanks, Jerry. And thanks for commenting. Hope you guys are doing great and that it’s been a nice summer for you! 🙂

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