When I was a little girl, I loved visiting my grandparents' house because they had an amazing vegetable garden. The funny thing is that back then, I wasn't all that interested in eating those vegetables, but was amazed at how someone could start with a tiny seed, add some water, sunlight, and TLC, and grow bright, red tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers. During my visits, I watched my grandfather pluck the cucumbers from the garden and lay them out on the counter, while my grandma worked her magic in the kitchen.
Ever since we moved into our current house a little over six years ago, I've wanted to plant a vegetable garden. We even had the perfect spot in the corner of our backyard, just begging to be transformed. I put it off while Griffin was a baby - just too much work. But this past spring I made the commitment. I pulled weeds and turned over the soil. I spent my Mother's Day buying seedlings - tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, basil, and strawberries. Together, Griffin and I planted our garden. We stepped back and I crossed my fingers. I can grow anything in a pot on my deck, but could I keep alive a real backyard vegetable garden? I could only hope.
The quick answer is yes. Our garden is thriving and growing each day. We just picked our first cherry tomato and everyday Griffin asks when we can pick all the other vegetables. Soon, baby. Soon.
While our garden was simply intended as a way to grow our own vegetables - cut back on expenses, eat fresh, try new recipes - it has provided us with so much more. Griffin has been learning about science and the lifecycle of plants. He is interested in eating the vegetables and fruits we are growing. But most importantly, he takes pride in his work - standing alone in the garden with me as I picked weeds, he opened his arms wide and said, "My garden makes me happy."
And as for me? Well, I've spent a lot of time during the past year in a major funk. OK, so it has been more than a major funk, but you get the idea. Lots of sadness. Lots of worry. Our garden has given me a place to work off those emotions (it's darn hard work in that garden!). I've committed to something and followed through with it. I started with nothing but a six-by-six square foot section of grass and overgrown weeds and brought it to life.
It has given me a purpose outside of my regular life as a wife, mother, and employee. That might sound silly to some of you, but when you feel the way I've felt for the past year, it means the world. Each day that I watch it grow, I feel myself grow - farther away from the tears and the worry. I am learning to leave them behind.
My garden makes me happy...