I get to spend an hour each week reading with a high school student who needs a little extra help with fluency. I always look forward to it.

The book we’re currently reading is a novel about a girl who has a rare disease called SCID and hasn’t left her house in 17 years. She lives in a bubble created by her mother to keep her safe from the world. As the story develops it’s astonishing to discover what this teenager has never experienced.

I’ve also been astonished to discover the things my reading partner has never experienced, having grown up in such close proximity to my children, but in a very different environment.

Both of these girls, the fictional one we’re reading about and the real one I’m reading with, are letting parts of themselves grow that they initially buried. And it’s a privilege to witness.

This past week, my reading partner and I were in a room with the quote, “ They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” on the wall. As we sat there reading, I couldn’t help but wonder what might happen if we all let a part of ourselves we once buried grow?

What if we let the possibility that we are beautiful, even though our personal beauty falls outside society’s narrow definition, grow?

What if we grew love for our body, even though it’s not “perfect?”

What if we grew our comfort with being bold?

What if we grew our ability to ask for what we really want?

What if we risked loving unconditionally? 

What if we let a long lost childhood dream of being a writer, or artist or dancer or singer or actor or whatever, grow? 

What if we grew an unedited opinion or our playful nature?

What if we let our creativity and vulnerability and our decisiveness and intuition grow?

What if we let our love of adventure and coloring outside of the lines and spitting watermelon seeds and crying whenever we felt like it and wearing what was comfortable… and, and, and… grow and grow and grow!

And what if instead of burying parts of ourselves, we had just planted a garden full of seeds that was waiting to be nurtured?

What if it’s time to tend that garden?