This weekend I planted a garden. It’s a small garden with a couple of vegetables and the kids’ choice of watermelon. I spent hours digging up a little corner of our yard to create this space. I have no idea if I’m going to successfully grow anything, but I’m feeling proud of myself. I find myself stealing glances at my work and I keep envisioning the “fruits” of my labor. I feel hopeful and positive — like I’m doing something important. This is how I feel today. Yesterday was a different story.
Yesterday, while I was raking and digging and mixing soil in the blazing sun, I felt annoyed that I had taken on another project. Another responsibility that was NOT as satisfying as I hoped. I cursed myself as I yanked weeds and cleared rocks. My inner voice of doubt and negativity started talking. How is this relaxing? Why do people do this in their spare time? I will never choose to do this in retirement. I’m just going to end up killing everything anyway. What a waste of a holiday weekend.
But, I kept working though the laborious task. I pushed myself to finish the project I started… even though at times I wanted to walk away. I have never been one of those people who felt compelled to grow my own vegetables and live off my land. I will be happy if I get one tomato and one cucumber from this whole thing. It will be a victory. An accomplishment for my plant-killing non-green thumb.
So, why did I embark on “project grow a garden” in the first place? Honestly, I’m not sure. I just wanted to try. I wanted to see if I could do it. Could I follow through with this idea? Could I nurture these seedlings and watch them grow? Could I be disciplined enough? Would I be lucky enough? Would I remember to water and weed? Would I be able to show my children what is possible with some effort?
Planting a garden is like becoming a mother for the first time – at least for me it feels this way. There were days I didn’t know if I would make it through. I had love, a little experience caring for kids, and leaky breasts. That was about it. Looking back I am fairly impressed that I was able to do it at only 21-years-old. I raised a baby into a teenager and eventually had more children, but, just like with gardening I sometimes struggled to see the end game. I also had many moments of self-doubt and worry. There were difficult days that made me question everything and simply required pushing through. I took each day as they came and gave what I could. I kept my expectations realistic and prayed for the best. I am still praying and hoping for the best. I simply want my babies to be healthy and to grow up to be happy people. I want to show them love and give them the opportunity to flourish.
I wasn’t a Mommy UNTIL I was a Mommy. And now I like to think I am a good Mommy. So, who knows, maybe this gardening thing isn’t so out of the realm of possibility. You can’t become a gardener until you start your very first garden. Maybe my garden will actually grow. Maybe I will push through to the end to claim my “fruit.” But, even if I only end up with a few wilted plants I will take comfort in knowing that I didn’t give up before I started.
I need to believe it is possible. That I can do anything I put my mind to… with some hard work, patience, and a whole lot of love.
How does your garden grow?