Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

Jack and I picked a crisp day to plop ourselves down on the ground in the front yard and plant some hyacinths for early spring. I could sense his confusion when he discovered planting flowers really meant digging holes, inserting a bulb bearing no resemblance to a flower, and then covering it once again with dirt.

“Where are the flowers, Mom?” he’d ask. “We have to wait until the snow melts,” I replied, realizing he failed to process such a seemingly interminable delay of gratification.

Planting bulbs is something I’ve done for years. Daffodils and hyacinths remain my favorites. Daffodils, for their bright cheery color and hyacinths for their delectable fragrance. Both for their early burst through the soil, sometimes even before the snow has melted.

After a dark winter, I need every sign of life I can get.

RELATED: To the Mom With the Winter Blues—Here’s How You Make it To Springtime

In my seasonal affective disorder, I muddle through the winter, seizing upon every 40 plus degree moment of sun.

I shovel the driveway after each snowfall, grateful for the chance to get my heart rate moving and enjoy the silence and awe of freshly fallen snow.

I bake rolls and cookies, infusing our home with warmth and an open invitation for friends to join us.

I drag myself out of bed each morning long before the sun rises to shuttle kids to and from school and activities. I retire long after the sun has gone to bed, feeling spent from a long day of fulfilling obligations and drudgery.

Then I wait.

There are days I sit back and wonder, much like Jack after planting bulbs, at the point of it all. Will the hyacinths ever make an appearance?

Indeed, winter is not my favorite, though there are bright spots to be found.

I saw a quote on Facebook recently that inspired me to reframe my relationship with winter. It read, “If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.”

In my life, this quote might read, “If you choose not to find joy in the teenagers, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of teenager.”

RELATED: The Teenage Years Will Break You

You see, teenagers resemble for me that hyacinth bulb in winter. I cultivated a spot for each one, inserted them with their pointy ends toward the sun, then covered and watered them to ensure the best possible outcome.

Likewise, I find myself shaking my head constantly as I endure the winter of raising teenagers.

I hold my tongue, hoping the lessons of years gone by managed to sink in. That the ground I have worked so diligently to cultivate provides an adequate environment for the beautiful bulb to thrive.

Then I wait.

RELATED: The Secret to Parenting Teens? Listen and Repeat.

I muddle through the years where each interaction is on their terms, where contributions in the home are regarded as optional, where adversarial relationships abound when standards are upheld.

I enjoy the moments of laughter when happy moods happen to collide in a universe of hormones. I eat up the chance to connect when they take me up on my offer to read to them as we did in younger years. I wake up bright and early to make breakfast and dabble in conversation as each daughter walks out the door, one by one. I buy and make mountains of food to keep them happy when they invite friends over. But mostly, I stay out of the way.

Indeed the efforts are staggering and the payout seems minimal.

But much like the hyacinth, the growth beneath the surface cannot be underestimated. And spring is on its way.

Truly, the instant gratification of planting annuals barely scratches the surface of the joy one feels when that first hyacinth breaks through after a long, cold winter.

RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About the Teenage Years is How Much I’d Love Them

And then another. And another. Within weeks my garden is bursting with color and sweetness fills the air. A gentle reminder that efforts made long ago and endurance in between were well worth it.

Winter can feel like an eternity. But spring always comes. And hope will see us through.

Previously published on the author’s blog

P.S. We love the wisdom in How to Talk So Teens Will Listen, and Listen So Teens Will Talk. Don’t have time to sit and read? Listen here, on Audible.

Recommendations in this post contain affiliate links. Her View From Home may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Susie Egbert

I'm a Jack of all trades, master of none mother of five awesome children. I'm finding that in parenting, being pretty good at a lot of things is enough.

A Mother’s Heart is Never Ready to Let Go

In: Motherhood, Teen
photo of a teen packing up his truck

Although I knew it was coming soon, I didn’t know today would be the day. I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind, knowing my heart wasn’t prepared. But maybe it never would be . . . Because I guess a mother’s heart is never really ready to let go. While I’ve dealt with these emotions before and it broke me . . . there’s something about the finality of the closing of a chapter in parenthood that cuts a little deeper when you watch your baby pack their belongings to move away. You know from the moment they...

Keep Reading

Keep Loving Your Teen Even When It Hurts

In: Motherhood, Teen
Sad teen girl sitting against railing with sun setting in the background

When I was 16, my social living teacher at Berkeley High School had us write letters to ourselves. She told us to write a future date on the envelope and promised to send us our letters on that day, which she did. Mine arrived 10 years later when I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My mom forwarded it to me, and I remember sitting in my rented basement room, having just finished rehearsing with a dance company I’d joined, unfolding the piece of yellow legal pad paper, and marveling at my teenager handwriting, letters squished together to make room...

Keep Reading

I Am a Mother Evolving

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Mother and child walking by water in black and white photo

Those who mean well squawk the refrain— “The days are long, but the years are short.” They said I would miss it— little feet and newborn baby smell nursing in the wee hours with a tiny hand clutching mine. Tying shoes,  playing tooth fairy,  soothing scary dreams. They were fine times, but I do not wish them back. RELATED: Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up I rather enjoy these days of my baby boy suddenly looking like a young man in a baseball uniform  on a chilly Wednesday in April. And my Amazonian teenage girl  with size 11...

Keep Reading

When the Hugs Disappear, I Won’t

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mother and teen son hugging, overlooking balcony, color photo

There is a time that lives in my heart that feels like it’s straight out of a Star Wars intro. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. A time when I received endless hugs.  A time when kisses on the cheek were plentiful. When bedtime rolled on for hours, with baby blue eyes, raspy little voices, and sweaty curls begging for more books, more snuggles, more time. There was a time when I gave underdogs until dusk, piggyback rides for miles, and lay on the floor flying my kids on airplane journeys that ended in crash landings...

Keep Reading

15 Is Everything

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl driving

She used to wear cat shirts and mismatched socks and silly pants. But this is 15. Now she’s up early to make sure her hair is just so and her socks are matching and you wonder how she grew up in front of your eyes. 15 is high school and new friends and old friends and navigating the world of dating. 15 is beautiful (short) homecoming dresses, even though her mom was just sure she would never let her buy that. 15 is late night studying and early morning practices. 15 is learning to drive (and making her mother nervous...

Keep Reading

As a Nurse, This Is How I Prepared My Daughter for Her First Period

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Woman wearing sunglasses with hands on the sides of her face and smiling, black and white photo

I don’t remember my first period, which means my mother had me well prepared. This doesn’t mean I was okay with it. I remember feeling awkward and tense each time. And honestly, for many years, shopping for feminine hygiene products filled me with unease. But wait a minute! There shouldn’t be anything shameful about something that will recur for about half of a woman’s life! Who decided it was to be a sensitive subject? Aren’t we all supposed to show empathy toward each other when it comes to this?  I say, pass the Midol around, sister! I knew the time...

Keep Reading

Dear High School Junior, Make the Most of This Year

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy standing in front of old building looking away

To my high school junior, Each year, these back-to-school letters get more difficult to write. Wanting to capture all that I want to say to you, in as few words as possible, seems like a daunting task.  Because I know that right now what I write to you seems cliché. And cringy. And like I’m doing too much, as your generation says.  If I’m lucky, you will skim this letter and probably not read it for real until you’re deep in your adult years, digging through a bin of your old school things I saved for you and begged you...

Keep Reading

The Mental Load of Mothering Teens and Tweens Is Exhausting

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Tween holding smartphone and sitting in waiting room, black and white image

We stand together silently in the short line at 7:58 a.m. Next to me, my almost-teenage son scuffles his feet on the beige tile floor as I thumb through my billfold, searching for the right insurance card. “I can help you now,” the receptionist motions us over to the desk. “What do you need to be seen for?” How does a mother of teens and tweens answer that question? What do you need to be seen for? Clearly the obvious response this morning is that my young athlete needed his possibly-fractured wrist X-rayed. But it’s so much more than that....

Keep Reading

I’ll Always Be the One Who Loved Them First

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Family with three small boys standing in kitchen, color photo

I’m no longer the last person he says goodnight to. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Here we are, just raising these boys, hoping and praying things over their futures, watching them grow, teaching them independence and other life skills, hoping they have heard the things we have said, and praying they make our faith their faith and choose to follow Jesus. And then, just like that, without any warning, without asking my permission, there is someone special in his life. Someone he spends hours on the phone with. Someone he wants to spend his time with. Someone who isn’t...

Keep Reading

I Want My Kids in Sports, Even If It Means Less Time for School

In: Motherhood, Sports, Teen, Tween
Youth volleyball team smiling

As my kids grow older I see the academic pressure mounting. Instead of going to school to learn and stretch their curiosity, it’s become a world of competition. The focus has shifted to the final outcome and not the process. The joy of learning is missing. The expectations are rising and children are either discouraged or pushing themselves to the brink of burnout just to get that A. Piles of due dates and homework steal their free time each night. But what about growing outside of the academic world? Being book-smart is not the only thing kids need. Is school...

Keep Reading