24 April 2012

confessions of a hypocritical gardener

"eat your vegetables". "tell the truth". "don't say 'piss off'." these are a few of the things i recommend to my boys. meanwhile i am sneaking m&ms and posturing with a penchant for the occasional curse word. "do as i say" with a quiet, "not as i do" chaser. i had a giggle with friends over the weekend over this phrase. each of us guilty in our own way of teaching one thing in our own homes and deviating from the path we set forth for our children.
boys helping in a friend's garden. 
much like a garden, i want the results of a beautiful brood of boys without the work. weeds that need tending? um. no thanks. i want the picturesque bounty not the sweat, bugs, weeding, discouragement that comes when wildlife robs my work.
the egg cartons are a failed attempt at growing from seeds.
every year i throw some plants or seeds in the dirt. i water and tend to the vegetation until, well, until i forget or until it becomes too hot or the weeds win. but my failed attempts at gardening do not deter me from trying. herbs in a pot in my kitchen. seeds planted in a rigged greenhouse. vegetables in raised beds. i have tried a lot of different approaches to growing plants as i have to growing boys. and you know what works for both: sunlight, space, good soil and lots of tending.

i have to walk daily with my boys. i have to engage in their lives. but i also have to engage in my own life: that means when i expect them to hear me the first time, i have to be listening to them. if i don't want them being selfish, then i need to be living a little more selflessly.i can't expect a perfect result from imperfect little people.  sitting on the bed of one of my boys and addressing his anger without confessing my own is well, hypocritical. and i own that.

my garden of boys is growing and growing fast. i can barely keep up really. and just as my darling "plants" are growing so are the weeds- at an alarming rate. it is staggering. overwhelming. and exhausting.

it's not that i think parents have the only power in the lives of their children to set the tone for who they become, how they grow-but they do have the most important opportunity. the parent is the master gardener in a way. here's to reaping a beautiful bounty in the garden as well as in the home. work hard.work long. enjoy the tending.

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