Beauty & Crap

 
There is a tree in my yard that is amazingly beautiful and brings me great joy.  It was here when we moved in, so I don't know what kind of tree it is, but it has almond-shape leaves and it weeps just gently enough to give it an elegant, umbrella canopy.  In the spring, it puts on a show of blossoms in dangling, delicate white clusters that make the whole yard ethereal.  Of course, the birds love the tree too - and my mornings in summer always begin filled with birdsong, like a Disney movie.   Only the part no-one likes to mention is that having a beautiful tree that brings beautiful birds also means a yard covered in not-so-beautiful bird crap!  Every morning I have the lovely task of  getting outside before the kids do to hose down their table, the slide and swings, and anything and everything else left in the yard overnight.  It also makes it a bit of a gamble to actually sit under the shady canopy and emerge clean.  Why does it always seem that in order to enjoy beauty, we must put up with a certain amount of crap?

Once I start thinking about it, I find it in almost every aspect of life - especially when it comes to parenting.  A U2 song recognizes that "there's always pain before the child is born."  And from that moment on it continues into infinity; parenting is full of crap - literal and figurative.  It is down-and-dirty-not-for-the-faint-of-heart-back-breaking-heart-breaking work.  But flabbergasting beauty  is the payoff.  The look of adoration that my baby gives me just because I walked into the room.  Tiny arms wrapped around my neck.  Listening to the miracle of my kindergartener reading for the first time.  Reading a story written by my nine-year-old. Bedtime kisses.  Overheard prayers.  Tutus and lightsabers and baby dolls. 

 It would be nice to have the beauty without the crap - enjoy the love without enduring the nights of ill children vomiting - but I'm beginning to believe that it is a universal imperative.  It's the stupid adage that we'll enjoy the bike more if we earn the money to pay for it ourselves.   Somehow it's true.  Others may admire my tree, but they don't get the birdsong in the morning, the blossoms in the spring, or the crap to scrub.  Others may enjoy the company of my children, but I get the truly beautiful because I also get the unsavory.  But if dichotomy is a universal imperative, I personally believe that it is not at all an even one.  In the grand scheme of things, when all is weighed in the balance,  the beauty in life, in parenting, and in trees eclipses the requisite bad stuff.
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