My boys point upward towards a towering tree in our backyard, convinced it is producing raisins. We’ve been playing under its generous shade all week, and I haven’t noticed the purple jewels of fruit until now. I pluck one and feel its velvety softness between my fingers. A thin stream of violet juice dribbles out. Upon closer inspection I realize these “raisins” are actually mulberries. My boys eat them voraciously—they can’t get enough. Small purple stains bloom on their hands and faces, evidence of their enjoyment.
It’s our third summer in this house. Our third summer in this spacious backyard filled with a wild tangle of grass and weeds and flowers. And, apparently, a mulberry tree. How had I never noticed it before? I’ve scattered zinnia seeds, spread out a blanket and lounged with a book, and taught my boys how to swing a plastic baseball bat, all underneath that tree. Josh and I even snapped our pregnancy announcement photo in its expansive shade.
Now, in the summer of 2022, I fill up the baby pool beneath the very same mulberry tree that has stood sentry over us for three years. I watch the boys tinker around in their mud kitchen, adding imaginary spices and stirring fictitious soups. I listen to them plead, “More! More!” as they point to the mulberries. I always acquiesce, grabbing a few extra for myself.
I taste the sweet berries and can’t help but admire how this tree is doing exactly what it was made to do, undeterred by lack of recognition. I take a moment to appreciate how it has quietly fulfilled its God-given purpose over the years, just by growing in our backyard. And I wonder—what if I did the same thing? What if, as a mother and a writer and a human, I thrived simply for the sake of thriving, because that’s what I was created to do?
There is a certain sense of freedom that comes from living without attachment to outside approval. I hope, one day, I can learn to live in that freedom—growing quietly and faithfully, providing generously for others, content to let my roots grow deep in the soil of obscurity.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Ordinary Inspiration”.