There was a time when the idea of plopping my littles down in front of a pile of dirt and seed packets was inconceivable. Inevitably that dirt would have been snatched up by chubby little fingers and ingested with gusto. Those little packets? They would have been jiggled around vigorously like maracas- their contents flying all over the yard within seconds. I say this with all the certainty in the world because, of course, we all know that babies and gardening just don’t mix.
But that was then. Now, of course, not only is some time spent working in nature possible, it’s damn near necessary in this era of Vitamin-D deficiency. Spring is here, the sun is out- it’s time to get busy, and busy we were last week when we planted some seeds together in the backyard. Now I’m not talking any serious landscape design considerations or tree/hedge plantings here, just simple container gardening that any little this age can do.
I gave them each their own little galvanized steel buckets and we shared a community bag of dirt and a smattering of seeds. Then, using the skills they so conveniently picked up over the years at Benner’s Farm, we got to work planting sunflowers, organic cherokee purple tomatoes, organic romaine lettuce, organic melon, and organic peas. And how’d they do? Great! We got to laugh and talk and be outside on a beautiful sunny day, but most of all, they got to feel the sense of purpose that comes with working with your hands and a sense of ownership and pride in their own home in the process as well.
Gone may be the days of hyper vigilance and baby-proofing all of my most treasured worldly goods, but these days that’s been happily replaced with sharing. We share with them everything from stories about their families to household chores. We patiently/nervously stand by and let them pillage our closets and makeup drawers and commandeer our car radios. All in an effort to help them grow. The best things to share? Our hobbies and favorite physical pursuits.
Sometimes it’s rollerblading together, sometimes it’s a ball game with all the fixings. This time…it was gardening. I got to share with my cubs a favorite activity that is relatively new to me as well but that brings out the very best in me whenever I do it. And I think that’s because it feels so good, as a parent, to get a little of yourself back after motherhood has begun. Each new piece of the old you that you regain access to as your baby grows older feels like a little victory, doesn’t it? These recovered pursuits are reminders of who we are behind the mommy mask we wear around the clock- of the things that make us who we are, and the directions in which we’d like to head.