Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bigger Picture Moments: Taking Root

I knew better. 

I knew better than to plant delicate seedlings in our wildlife-alive prairie of a back yard without proper fencing to deter small critters. 

We took a chance in the twilight of a gorgeous evening and we sewed the squash plants into damp soil.

Babies

Already two weeks behind planting schedule, we felt the pressure to sink them into the ground as soon as possible. Squash, especially, need ample opportunity to establish themselves, plunge their roots into the fine compost so as to produce a hearty harvest. 

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Some survived the night. But one pumpkin plant had been all but demolished by a critter, its leaves completely destroyed, only a stem remaining. 

I mentally kicked myself for pushing it out of the safety of its pot before it was ready, before we'd given it a chance to grow a little hardier, before we'd built the barrier walls to offer at least one simple layer of protection. 

The most mind-boggling thing about squash is that by mid-summer, they are the hulking giants of the garden. 

Their leaves -- the zucchini, the pumpkins, the buttercups -- rival elephants ears. They spread out, leaves on a mission, so quickly and become massive sunshades for the flowering fruits twisting out of the thick, prickly vines. 

The other plants, the ones that never grow quite as strong and large and powerful -- the tomatoes, peppers and the like -- never seem quite as vulnerable as baby seedlings when they are first anchored into the dirt; they take root and grow and produce, but never quite as majestically as the squash. 

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They run laps, our two boys, around us in the backyard while we talk after dinner, lounging on the patio beneath linger rays of sun. 

At the end of the summer, our oldest will be five, we say aloud. Five. And the youngest? Three.

We field questions often about their fall education plans often; will he be in kindergarten next year, others ask of the oldest? Is he doing preschool, the question regarding the smaller of the two.

We shake our heads no, having decided that G will spend another year in afternoon preschool before we consider sending him out into the larger world of primary school and E will stay home again.

We've questioned our decision, from time to time. And, and normally, the conversation might flow during such a time -- when we're watching them play from a distance and they seem so big, so able, so ready to become more and more part of the world -- if we've chosen the right setting for them both come this September. 

We writhed {ok, I did} last summer, agonized over which class last year would suite our oldest best. 

We took a chance on every-day preschool; he survived, even thrived. 

But this year, I know he needs the extra time to grow stronger roots before we plant him in the wide-open space of new soil. Same with his brother.

This year, I've taken note from the pumpkin plant we rushed into the ground and know that some extra time in the smaller pot atop the patio table -- under the sun, watering and constant care of a gardener -- is just what they both need to take root well and hold their own. 

Simple BPM


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7 comments:

  1. LOVE the analogy. And I'm a big fan of giving children time...of not rushing their childhood...of not taking it all so seriously. Those truly free, unencumbered days of real childhood don't last long...and deserve to be milked, cherished, relished in for as long as possible!

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  2. I think you are on the right track with your little seedlings. I am a firm believer that a child needs every once of maturity he can get to be most successful in school and later in life.

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  3. Lovely analogy Hy, your boys will develop good strong roots...

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  4. Darling Hy! It is ok to follow your gut instincts. Anthony moved into kindergarten a year later (at 6) because I followed my instincts and it has been a blessing. You know your children the best. Good for you! Your children will grow like crazy next year and even over the summer and it will be just as delightful as plucked vegetables. Sweet! Fresh! and fun to watch grow.

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  5. Reading these words, I just KNOW you have made the best decision for your little ones. Mommies really do know best. :) Also, I love these gardening parallels with life you've been unwrapping lately. Parenting is so like gardening and this truth - that sometimes these little ones need time to develop stronger roots before we send them out into the big garden - is so beautiful and so good. Just imagine how much more your G will thrive and survive after NEXT summer with one more year to grow those stronger roots.

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  6. Oh yes... It can be difficult and agonizing discerning the myriad choices regarding our little "plants". I stress big time about these things, but in the end I know that me and Ben's attentiveness and thoughtful care is what our kids need most -- not the perfect decision, every single time.

    The description and comparison here are gorgeous, by the way, Hy!

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  7. I echo the others: the analogy is great. You've grown your boys in strong roots. I'm certain they'll thrive!

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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