Mom, you win.
You had a little girl who didn’t like getting her fingers and toes dirty.
It took a while for me to get there, but I finally did.
I am a gardener.
My mother is an avid gardener. While I always appreciated the results of her efforts, I simply did not enjoy mucking about in the dirt. It always just felt like work to me. Even as a young adult, my first few attempts at gardens in rented student houses were sadly neglected.
But, something has changed. As I became a mother myself, I started to appreciate small things more. I started to see the interaction between caring for things and watching them thrive. If, after all, I could grow human beings, how hard could a few plants be? And, while doing academic research about the value of connecting ourselves and our children with nature, I really started to pay attention.
Now, I surrender.
While I still don’t know what I’m doing, and my garden is lacking in any actual design or skill, I am learning gradually, and most importantly, I enjoy it.
I talk to my flowers. I go out to visit them, and lovingly pluck off wilted blooms to encourage new growth. I do tours around the garden to see how everyone is getting along, and mediate arguments between the more aggressive residents and the slower, more reluctant types. Every time it rains, I am pleased to think about the effects on the garden. I spend too much money at nurseries, and buy more plants than I know what to do with.
I get a thrill at the first sign of bulbs popping through the earth, and feel a strong sense pride when anything I planted thrives. When my mother-in-law sent me a great big armful of perennials harvested from her garden to share with me, it felt a little like Christmas.
I didn’t really think I had it in me, but then again, I am my mother’s daughter! Fortunately, my husband shares this interest (probably a result of HIS upbringing), and he has taken on the vegetables and fruits, plus all the heavy lifting! We are constantly redesigning the yard in discussions, visualizing future projects, expansions and possibilities.
And, when I come in from gardening, pull off my crocks, and wash the dirt from between my toes and scrape it from under my fingernails, I feel a sense of accomplishment and connection to the earth.