This weekend I had a mom flashback. You know the kind—definitely not triggered by any wild drug but inspired by some everyday reminder of how little your kids used to be and how big they are now.
I was standing at the kitchen counter peeling apples. The girls, my mom and I had picked like 30 pounds of apples at Detering Orchard outside of Eugene over the weekend. I knew I needed to do something with the giant box of apples on the counter, so I started to make applesauce.
And it was peeling those Early Macintosh beauties that gave me the mom flashback.
Before Peeper was Peeper
Years ago, mere weeks after moving to Portland from Eugene, Eric and I lived in a house that had three apple trees in the yard. We learned I was pregnant just after moving in.
Days after that plus sign on the pregnancy test, I picked a ton of apples from the yard. As I was slicing them, an appleseed fell out.
“Appleseed!” I shouted to Eric, who was in the next room.
He, of course, was baffled, especially when I started crying.
But I explained to him that my pregnancy book told me that our baby was the size of an appleseed that week. It was such an overwhelming, emotional experience to see the size of the fragile life I was nurturing inside me. I thought of the baby, who would of course grow into Peeper, the whole time as I cooked all those apples into applesauce.
So this week when I once again found myself making applesauce, it’s no wonder I had a mom flashback. The appleseeds seemed impossibly small. How, I marveled, could something so tiny ever grow to be these loud, joyful, exuberant people?
Growing up so fast
But here we are, nearly five years since that first appleseed moment.
Kiwi is about to start homeschool preschool with friends from her moms’ group. Kiwi is big enough that she now has a favorite color (blue), demands to do everything “self” and actually can do most things, and can keep up with or even outdo Big Sister on the jungle gym.
Peeper starts a new year of preschool this year. Her imagination has grown into its own force, and sometimes she tells me, “Mama, right now I’m pretending that I am this little inside your belly.” She squints and shows me her fingers, pinched together to leave only a sliver of space between them. A sliver of space that would barely fit an appleseed.
Growing a better world for other appleseeds
So much has changed since that day of making applesauce five years ago. We had to move out of that house almost immediately, as it turned out it was infested with mold.
We have since moved in and out of multiple apartments and bought a house. We grew another appleseed into an actual human being. We have built a community of dear friends. We have started new jobs and quit them when they no longer fit the best life we know we want to build.
The world seems less safe, more uncertain, than the day I cried over an appleseed. Yet I hold onto hope and recognize I have a role to play in building a better, more inclusive, safer, more just world.
I know that is my duty—not only for my two apple seeds but all the others appleseeds out there.