It’s finally cooled off enough that I can work in the Little Back Side Yard again. I’m excited to play back there, but I know nothing about gardening.

Over the summer, I read a bunch of stuff online about it. Didn’t help much. I checked out a bunch of books from the library that helped even less. Finally, I decided the best way to learn-- just begin it. Last week I bought a bunch of little plants at the local nursery and transplanted them, hoping for the best. It’s really tricky keeping fingers crossed while digging holes.

I expected to approach gardening like parenting. The parallels are clear-- planting seeds, watching them grow, pulling weeds, metaphors everywhere. I figured I’d plant some stuff, be ruthless with the pruning, and let the garden find its own way. Just like raising Miss G.

I would not describe myself as a particularly nurturing mother. I love Miss G to pieces, and she loves me back just as hard, but it’s tough love both ways. She didn’t tolerate being fussed over even as a baby. She started out independent, as self-sufficient as it’s possible for a baby to be. And she’s grown into a girl with a huge heart for those she loves, but no patience for the rest of the world... just like her mama.

Only -- in the garden, it turns out I’m a big marshmallow mess.

I hovered over the new transplants like a nervous helicopter-- watering them three times a day, checking on them at least twice that often. I shirk other chores, investigating the hen-and-chicks to see if they’re spreading yet, suffering little heartbreaks with every edge of green leaf fading to brown. The dogs are no longer allowed past the steps. I bristle even when the kids come out.

It’s funny to discover this side of myself. Well-- rediscover it. I know I’m a softy at heart. Always have been. I guard myself extra tight because of it. But parenting requires an edge, consistency and discipline mixed liberally in with all the love. I didn’t notice the edge took over. Miss G is so anti-coddling anyway, and our pre-Dan life didn’t leave much room for indulging emotions that gained us nothing. I had to fight and scrap for both of us; I guess gentle went dormant along the way.

I like feeling that edge soften when I’m digging in the dirt. I like even more that my life has arrived at a place where I can reclaim my gushy center.

1 comment:

  1. The gushy center is the best part... generally such a surprise and a bit of a mess...but definitely the best part. :) I am sort of a gooey mess most of the time... I need to toughen up! xoxo POST YOUR BLOG