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Don’t hate me because I love Roundup. I have way too much work to do. If I decide that some particularly loathsome vegetation needs to go away, I don’t have time to be nice about it. So this morning when I was out raining death on burdock while carefully avoiding the dainty forget-me-nots growing just as wildly in the same area, I thought. “What’s up with that?”

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Why is one plant intolerable and another welcome to live here with me as it pleases? There’s no rhyme nor reason to it. I don’t kill dandelions. I rather like them, actually. Crabgrass in the lawn? No Problem. It’s green, right? And why do roses get all the glory, thorny old things?

Who decides what goes and what’s worth protecting?

For over ten years, Tim and I have parented a child we met when he was just a little guy. He’d already had a tough life by then, and we wanted to help make it better. Some things have been better, but mostly it’s been hard. Really hard. “Good thing he’s so handsome,” well-meaning friends sometimes say, as though his striking good looks could be of any value when he’s suspended from school. Again.

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Caring for a child who takes everything out of you and gives back almost nothing can be a lonely business. I don’t fault anyone who doesn’t understand why we keep trying. I didn’t get it, either, until I fell in love with this boy who wasn’t born to me. As exhausted and discouraged and sad as we are, I am so grateful that, when I first saw this child, I did not turn my face away.

So, who decides what’s worth protecting?

I do.

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