Gardening, it grows on you.
Its weeks later and the T-tribe's still feeling the time change. Kasen is still blaming the time change on why he wakes up late. Not the obvious that he is tired. The kids naturally wake with the sun. Unfortunately, the sun does not rise when the kids need to be up; this is a catalyst it adds chaos to an already somewhat chaotic morning. For those that don't know anything about two year olds or have not had the pleasure of dealing with one, one word can easily describe them stubborn. When they have their heart set on something there is almost no stopping that want, or in their words "I NEED IT." The wants vary, but some examples are, insisting on needing to take a "tubby" at seven o'clock in the morning and then demanding to wear brothers clothes which are four times too big. Again some examples, these (specifically) may or may not happen three to four times a week. However, we are familiar with the pick your battles style parenting. Sometimes there is no way around the meltdowns, therefore elongating our departure.
I know, you're probably like what the heck does this have to do with plants. Well, days like today, I let the kids (Tiny in particular) get to me. From the time he woke up to the time we had to drop brother off at school, and the remainder of the car ride to his daycare he was showing his two-year-old self. When I got home, I went straight to the backyard and had a decompression session. This is the time when I use my garden to relieve stress. There is something soothing about the mechanics of gardening that brings the body to ease. The garden will never let you down, and there is always a lesson learned, whether finding what worked or what didn't; the point is to be better next time. Gardening has taught me life lessons that are applicable every day. For example, when Shandy and I first started gardening, we (I) built this elaborate 200 square foot plot, with a fence, raised beds, and stepping stones... The whole nine! I learned a valuable life lesson, "don't bite off more than you can chew." Having such a big plot and no experience, it quickly became overwhelming; much like when life pulls you in many directions, you have to know what your limits are.
This isn't a post about life lessons as much as it is about finding what makes you happy, gives you relief, sets you up for a better tomorrow. It may sound that like I am the only Thompson getting anything out of the garden, but that is far from the truth. The kids are our most prominent helpers when it comes to tending the garden. The boys get excited when they are given the opportunity to help. The shovel is a favorite and always ends in a fight. When we are out in the garden, the boys are constantly asking questions.
"Can we eat this one?"
"What does this flower taste like?"
"Why is this plant doing well here and not over there?"
Although they probably aren't getting the therapeutic value that I get, they are getting exposed and educated on where our food comes from and how what hard-work it is to make such little amounts. I am a firm believer that viewing from another perspective is a great learning tool.
Also fun parenting tip, weeding is a great punishment.
Our family recently rotated our crops to make room for our spring/summer rotations. Now that our boys are old enough to help and understand the basics, this year we let them pick out some plants. We ended up with melons and onions. Not sure if this is the best combination, but we will try it. This will be our first year of trying out melons. We will find out if our yard can handle all the vines, as we do well with cucumbers during summer months. As of last week, all of our seeds have sprouted, and the boys cannot be more excited. Every weekend we go into the garden to see how the sprouts are doing. We all have our theories on which plant will grow the fastest, be the first, and which plant will produce the most. Although no winning wagers, I'm pretty sure I am the real winner here.
Seeing the kids actively engage with each other and learning about the foods we eat brings me joy. It reminds me that life can be simple and that its the little things in life that make the biggest impressions. It magnifies the good and sheds away negativity. Our goal in life is to live life fully day by day, and this is one way the Thompson Tribe "chooses joy." Our garden is a place of continuous learning, growth, and compassion. It may not be the prettiest of all the gardens, but it gives us a bonding space, provides food, and it's something that brings us together. We hold these moments close to our hearts and gives us a way to slow down in our busy world.