Last year, in late winter, while the baby napped, I enthusiastically started seeds inside that would eventually sprout and be transplanted to our large tilled bed in the side yard. Low and behold, the older babies get, the more attention they need…and the less attention the garden got. Tomatoes sprawled, unstaked and were mostly wasted, though I did see Charles out there wading through the vines occasionally trying to save a few.
This year is different. THIS year I am beginning to see a lot of parallels between caring for our kids and nurturing a garden. And, somehow, I’ve found time for both. Besides, the baby is out playing with Remy now or sometimes parked beside me in the beds eating strawberries almost as fast as I can pick them. I wish I’d been able to capture the perfect berry-smushed baby face, covered in red juice and happy as could be. But as the season progresses and other things are starting to mature, I trust I will have repeated opportunities for pictures just as cute.
I think any parent, especially moms, will easily be able to see how the efforts one takes to grow strong and fruitful plants are very similar to those needed for raising healthy and happy kids. They are both challenging, rewarding and full of surprising delights.
Today, Remy worked with me in the garden. I didn’t expect to be out there long or to have much to work on. I was picking suckers off tomato plants and tying them up on their stakes a little higher since all this wonderful rain has been making them grow so much.
He started digging random holes in the rows because that’s what little boys do. This led to me telling him to at least dig some purposeful holes so we could transplant some volunteer collard greens into neat rows instead of just having a smattering of them all over the place. He quickly decided that was too hard, so I set him to picking green beans when I realized there were a fair few of size already on the bushes.
My first surprise was having such a pleasant day in early summer in central Virginia in which to do all this outdoor work in the middle of the afternoon. My second was realizing there was so much to harvest. My third was this…
As Remy was picking green beans, trying to be careful not to pick the baby ones or disturb the buds, he asks “Is it okay if I pick a leaf?”. I told him, one is not that big of a deal, but the leaves are important because that’s how the plants get food from the sunshine. He said, “I don’t think they EAT the sunshine, I think it’s better to say DRINK the sunshine.” Drink the sunshine…out of the mouths of babes, right? I think I just found my new summer hashtag.
My last surprise was how pretty okra blossoms are…also, that we had okra because they popped up in my cucumber row. Keep your eyes out for gumbo this summer!