Margot Merrill on modern parenthood and the writing life

1May/127

Your rose, your thorn, and your bud

My friend Tyler's buddy asks his kids this question every night: "What are your rose, your thorn, and your bud?"

Your rose is the happiest moment of the day. The thorn, the worst part of your day: what's bothering you or keeping you back. And your bud is what you're excited about learning or doing next.

Roses have been on my mind lately. When I'm trying to calm down I visualize being in one. A giant red rose. I curl in the center like a baby, a yellow pollen blanket under me. The petals unfurl around me.

Love, that's what a rose means. In that visualization I do, it means self-love. Self-love. I didn't know I needed it, but apparently it's what I'm supposed to be learning. Have I mentioned I hate learning? I've come to recognize that my wires are crossed. Learning = failing. I'm working hard to change this belief, and to be kinder to myself as I grow. (How do you do that self-love thing? Did you always just...love yourself unconditionally? Is it learned? Does it come and go?)

I had a rose-related breakthrough recently when a wise woman who knows me well said: "You don't have to constantly be exceptional, Margot."

"Yes I do!" I shouted. And then I laughed a little and explained, "So I can keep torturing myself for failing!"

She, much older and calmer than I, said: "Lower your expectations. Especially of yourself."

It was a revolting idea.

"But I want to create! Beautiful things!" I said. "And change the world! Make it better! Help people! And be a great parent! And–"

"It's not realistic, or kind to yourself, to think you have to be phenomenal all the time," she said. "To create, you need down time. Time when you're just normal old you. You need time to gestate."

Then I thought of a rose, and why it's exceptional: it's not always blooming. The bush hibernates. It makes rose hips from faded flowers. Its roots stretch into the cold deep earth to bring up nutrients. The leaves do their photosynthesis thing.

shhhh, we're working on something good inside over here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when things are ready, it blooms.

Ah. That feels good. Pretty exceptional, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel like I'm coming out of a dark winter. So grateful to see the late-Spring sun. I have to move past being mad at myself for breaking down. I know this whole process–my recent crash, and evolving identity, and awkward inner growth is leading to something. More roses. I'm sure of it.

I haven't yet instated the rose/thorn/bud routine with my family. I'll have to add it to my list of to-do's. If you're inspired, and you actually have dinner with your family regularly, please do it and lmk how it goes.

Heart,
Margot

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  1. wow! how profound and so honest! i love that about you! i am totally going to steal that rose, thorn, bud thing from you, because i think it’s a way of getting kids (boys especially) to open up. I finally learned that about lowering my expectations, and it has helped me to better deal with stuff that is going on and it make life much easer to manage. it doesn’t make me feel better tho to berate myself all the time, but i gotta work on that one too! :) good luck my friend. we really need to catch up!

  2. Lovely, just lovely, and exactly what I needed to read today. Exactly what I need to read every day, actually. Because you can’t just learn it one. Hurray for you! Hurray for us all!

  3. Thank you my friends. Even more rewarding that writing something like this is knowing that others can feel it and relate. And that you love me. I love you too!

  4. loved this post!! i’m going to do it.

  5. But you DO create beautiful things (I can think of two especially that stand out!), and you help people, and you HAVE changed the world, and you ARE a wonderful parent. OK, maybe not all the time… you can have Tuesdays and Sundays off….

  6. You gorgeous friend, you. Thank you Cam. Especially for those two days off!

  7. We just started. We’re not doing it every day, but when we can. You learn so much so quickly about one another! Happy that 4.5 year old Ali has gotten down with it. How ’bout your fam Cat?


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