I love the idea of gardening. My dad is a champion gardener, and I have decades-worth of weeding memories, eating the warm-tomato memories, corn-shucking-on-the-run memories, overwhelming zucchini harvest memories, and random other garden memories, including the time that snake slithered right over that foot. (It wasn’t my foot. But I remember the skin-crawl as though it might have been.)
I inherited a lot of traits from my dad, including but not limited to freakish memory, long phone calls, and a love for cheese and red meat. But I didn’t get the green thumb. Which occasionally makes me sad. I try. Often. I spend way more money on plants and gardeny stuff than I ever save on actual edible produce. (*boo*)
This year I let myself off the hook. I didn’t plant anything. In fact, in that spirit of honesty, I’ll tell you that I haven’t actually managed to weed out the garden yet. But. I have a couple of volunteers. We’re eating a lot of chives, because they come back. Over and over. Yea! And their flowers are so beauteous. We’re using chives where normally we’d use green onions and everyone’s pretty glad about it. Also, the lettuces I planted last spring, but they never grew? Remember those? Surprise! They’re coming up now. So hooray for the surprise benefits.
Yesterday at church, Brother Bob asked us if we wanted any spinach. Um, hello? I guess, yes. So we went over there and he cut off a bunch of gorgeous greenies, and I ooh-ed and aah-ed over his growing things, and he also whacked off a bunch of rhubarb for us. I told him to leave the leaves on, because I had to go all Miss America pageanty and wave to the Kids while holding this incredible bouquet of rhubarb. We went home thinking how grateful we were that we could reap the benefits of someone else’s work. Thanks, Brother Bob.
So this morning I made a pie. A strawberry-rhubarb pie. I haven’t had one of those in at least 25 years. And it made me miss my mom like very few things do these days. I don’t know if my mom loved-loved strawberry-rhubarb pie, but she made it, and I ate it with her. She would have been proud of my pastry today, you know. It was a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself. We just cut into the pie, and only Kid 1 ate her whole piece (well, I did, too), and she laughed and said, “Well, Mom, you and I can eat this pie.” And my heart was happy-sad and I wished again that Mom was here to know my Kids. Because she’d think they’re delightful, I guarantee it. She’d crack up at Kid 3’s sense of humor. She’d be jealous of her hair, too. She’d swoon over Kid 2’s Vivaldi abilities. And she’d snuggle up with her in a blanket on the couch. She’d answer all of Kid 4’s questions, even when she knew he was only asking to keep her talking. She’d practice his duets with him, too, because she had the skills to do that thing. She’d hold her own hands together over her heart (that physical manifestation of *squee*) when she saw Kid 1 sing on stage, I know it. She’d practice songs with her, and help her work through tricky harmonies. And she’d pretend to be amazed at all the kid-ly braininess, when really, she’d pretty much expect it.
And every day, when I work on this Mom business, and sing songs to my kids, and read them books (with the voices)and bite my tongue when the unkind/impatient/snarky remark wants to escape, and when I say, “B-flat, b-flat,” and cook meals every day, I’m reaping the rewards of her seed-planting. Thanks, Mom.