Letters to Lola: Greener Pastures

Letters to Lola: Greener Pastures

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter that explains where the grass is truly greener.

022315LOLAI remember my first garden. Well, technically it was my sandbox. But I planted radish seeds in it once, and they surprisingly grew, so we called it my garden.

My parents were so shocked that anything grew in it because, for one, it was a sandbox. No soil, just sand. It was also in the shade, and a fairly long walk from our house so it wasn’t necessarily easy to get to.

This poor little “garden” had everything stacked against it. I had every excuse for it not to work. But I saw gardens in magazines and wanted one so badly.

I remember visiting my radishes each day, bringing them water — never looking at other plants to notice they were in soil not sand, or if they were bigger than my little radishes. I just watered watered watered, and loved seeing the little green sprouts get bigger every day. Then, eventually, that proud moment when my parents said my radishes were big enough to pick!

We pulled them out of the ground and I couldn’t believe I had grown them all by myself. I think I stared at them for hours – so proud – before I finally caved and ate one. I’ll never forget that day.

Somehow along the way, though, I forgot the lessons this little garden taught me. With the huge hurdles we’ve had to clear lately, it’s been tough to not look at everyone else’s “garden.” I started looking at other people’s soil. Their plants. Their harvests. Why did gardening seem so much easier for them than it did for us? Did I have a black thumb?

There was one woman in particular who seemed to have it all: healthy family, lots of kids, nice house, traveled often, great job, etc. From an outsider’s perspective, their life just looked effortless and happy. Like a beautiful, self-watering garden full of huge, fruitful plants. Who wouldn’t be jealous of that?

Last week, I had a business meeting with this woman. I even thought “It must be so nice to be her” when she welcomed me in to her perfectly organized office, shook my hand with her perfectly manicured nails, and smiled at me with her perfect Hollywood smile. Then, about 15 minutes into the conversation, she poured out her heart to me. She hadn’t been happy in years and she had just told her husband she wanted a divorce. Life had been secretly crumbling behind the facade she kept so well-manicured.

I was shocked. It was like learning that the dream gardens in my magazines as a kid were really a bunch of silk plants stuck in dirt (which they very well might have been). And here it had me – a person who somehow made radishes grow in a shady pile of sand – wondering if I had a black thumb. In reality, I made something really special happen when I focused on my own little plants. I willed those little radishes to grow with lots of love and water. Your daddy and I did the same thing – despite all odds, we willed our special little family to grow with lots of love and strength. We just needed to keep doing that and not worry about anything else.

So, keep that in mind when you feel the urge to compare your life to others. While it might look like it from afar, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. But the grass will always be greener where you water it, even if it’s just a few radishes in the sand.

Amy Scalia
Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at ascalia@cincychic.com. From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.

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