How Does Your Garden Grow?

Do you like to garden?  Karen didn't think she did, but finds that maybe there's more to it than she thought originally . . .



I haven’t had a vegetable garden since I was 10. But with two teenage daughters with one foot out the door, I needed someone (something) to take care of, and those tomato plants caught my eye.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no business planting a vegetable garden, I am no green thumb. Plants come to my house to die a terrible death. Besides, I barely even eat vegetables, I have the worst eating habits on the planet, Doritos are my best friend. So you’ll understand why as I picked out the baby plants from the nursery where they were born, I apologized to them each in turn . . . I don’t have a green thumb, I explained, but I have a lot of love. I think they forgave me. They really didn’t have a choice as I whisked them away in my minivan (at least that’s green.)

Kind of like kids. They don’t have a choice what kind of home they’re born into, they just come out and hope for the best. That’s what I did. And it worked out. I was born into a working class family with parents who, even though they both worked full time, devoted themselves to their children. I had a father who played with me and a mother who took it upon herself to cater to my every whim – I grew up spoiled by attention, though I swear (I swear!) not spoiled rotten. Let me give you an example. When I was in high school, my school was so overcrowded we had to go on double sessions, which meant that in the dark cold winter I had to get up at 5 am. Not fun for anyone, let alone a 16 year old me. My mother – even though she had to go to work at her full time job as a secretary at Raytheon – decided to bring me breakfast in bed (I didn’t ask, or argue.) But but but . . . the light! It was so bright! I complained. She brought it in the next morning by candlelight – Cinnamon toast, orange juice and coffee. The tray barely fit on my tiny desk in my tiny room. I felt like the princess my pink princess phone was made for.

So you can imagine the responsibility I felt when my own two daughters were born. I was used to being catered to how could I now do the catering! Somehow, it happened. I didn’t exactly bring my kids breakfast in bed but I’ve been known to get up at 5 to bake their favorite muffins on an important day. But all moms know about doing things like that, it’s what a mother’s love makes possible.

I’ve gone off the track. Wasn’t this supposed to be about my garden? My daughters are almost all grown up now, at 16 and 19 they are blooming. I didn’t exactly match my own mother’s dedication but I think I did a good job watering them and weeding them when they needed weeding. And now I’ve got my vegetable garden, which they are completely disinterested in , and claim I have ruined the backyard with. But today, I dragged my youngest out to see the first fruits of my labor, and she seemed impressed.

“They’re sisters,” I mumbled, proudly, about the two tiny green strawberries that have suddenly made an appearance. She smiled. “Sisters.” You know, I think I’m going to like this.

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