Now it is me, a woman and a mother, on my hands and knees combing through the beds. My yard is pint-sized and sits at an altitude much higher than sea level. The air is not musty and moist. It is dry, the dirt crusty and crumbling between my fingers. I am pulling weeds while simultaneously pulling thoughts from my head that need not have room to grow. Ironically, it is me now audibly throwing words out, sending them off on the wind’s wings to turn into nothingness, or tucking them deeply into the soil so the thought can grow into something more. I pause and look up to see Theo, our oldest little one, watching me from a few feet away. No doubt he’s listening to my every mumbled word and watching my every move. He quickly gets back to his task. A few minutes later I hear him mumbling his thoughts to the wind too.
All those years as a sun-kissed, sweaty Florida girl, following my mom around her flower beds taught me lessons that are only now blooming so wildly in my life. It was she who taught me what it means to kneel down in the grass; how important it is to have something to do that allows you to pluck, till, plant, prune, water, nurture. Without even realizing it, she taught me that tending is vital to surviving, that everything eventually needs a good weeding through, and that a gardener’s tasks are very similar to those of a wife, mother, daughter, friend and lover of life.
Most importantly, I learned that every seed tended - mumbled to or not - will eventually bloom.
I received a copy of The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 ways to get kids outside, dirty, and having fun.
I'm really excited to share this book with you. The Preface made me think back to that piece I wrote last year about following my mom around our yard as a child, and just how much of an impact it had on me. This morning, while tending to my plants, I watched out of the corner of my eye as my two little ones hauled bucket after bucket of water to their "garden", which is basically a mud pit embellished with plastic pirates and whatever plant clippings and dead-headed flowers I have that day. They call me over, giddy and excited, to show me a new bug they've unearthed. A bird lands on the fence just above their heads and Sully exclaims, "Hey mom, get the bird guide. Let's figure out what this is." While Theo chimes in, "it's a goldfinch, Sully."
This book is full of fun, fresh ideas - Bug Races, The Fine Art of Flower Pounding, Making Dolls from Flowers, Muddy Miniature Masterpieces, Lavender Wands - anyone? And Timber Press is giving this book to one of you! For a chance to win a copy simply leave a comment here - a memory from your childhood that inspired you to love nature, or something your little one(s) loves to do in the garden or around the yard, and a random winner will be chosen and announced one week from today. You can also click here for another chance to win the book along with some extra goodies from Timber Press.