Monday, May 12, 2014

Gardening With Children: Ideal Reality Vs. Real Reality


Like every other sick-of-winter person on the planet, when the seed catalogs start appearing in February, I start planning. I make detailed lists and charts and diagrams of everything from the seeds I want to buy to which plants will go where and why. I am all up in it. 

And then, I wait. And wait a bit more. Because spring doesn't really arrive here until May. Sometimes June. Last year, I planted my garden on May 2, when it was 80 degrees, and it snowed on May 3. And while I'm waiting, I revel in my Ideal Reality of family gardening. In this annual indulgence, I visualize a Norman Rockwell-esque day of garden planting with my peeps. Laughing, giggling, playing with earthworms, chatting excitedly about anything and everything. Tired and exhausted at the end of the day, we lounge around with Flavor-Ice (them) and beer (me). It's the quintessential "mother-and-child gardening together in true harmony" picture. 

Enter Real Reality. When I have a plan, especially one that includes lists and charts and diagrams, everyone who is not on board or who has no intention of following my directions, needs to steer clear. I am a big 'ol ball of OCD and anal retentiveness. The peeps just want to dig for buried treasure and dinosaur bones. They have no need for straight lines, organization or directions. And I have no patience. So ... about 15 minutes into our day of gardening, I am alone. And I am in heaven. La la la. 

While the kids and I might not make the best planting team, we harvest like beasts. As we tiptoe through the vines and narrow rows, peeking under leaves and snapping off veggies, we laugh, giggle, play with earthworms and chat excitedly about anything and everything. Yep, harvest time is rather Norman Rockwell-esque. 

On a related note, check out Amber Dusik's post on SheKnows. It's called Gardening With Young Children: What Could Go Wrong? Amber is the author of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, and the writer and illustrator of the blog Illustrated With Crappy Pictures. And I am thankful for her every day because she reminds me I'm not alone. 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep it Real

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