After the development of The Farm (my backyard) this summer, I have come to realize how similar you are to a Parent's work! We welcome children into our lives so that we can nurture them, care for them, and guide them to become productive members of our society. Well, it seems as if growing veggies is not too far off from such challenging and never-ending obligations and tasks of Parenting. Here's how.
First, you (parents) plan for having children. You line your ducks in a row before sowing some Seeds (of Love). (Well, even if you didn't plan it, the outcome is still pretty much the same; read on.)
Pinterest-inspired: growing seeds in toilet paper rolls
Babies remain to be unseen while you (Mommies) carry them for nine months (5 to 10 days), all the while reading What to Expect books (internet gardening DIY sites) to plan for the rest of Babies' lives. Excitement builds, and you cannot wait to meet your Little Ones.
Dear Son watering the newly planted seeds
Then you wait and wait and wait some more. After Babies mature in Mommies' womb, they pop out, and seriously? There is not a more marvelous sight to see.
Houston, we have Seedlings!
You will also have prepared a space or nursery in which Infants will take residence. You pick the room (plot), clean it out, and take a deep breath before it gets filled with Babies and their Stuff. You think, this is where They will grow, dream, laugh, and play.
View, from left and from right
After months (weeks) of prepping the walls (grounds) and furniture (structures), Babies take to their new home and settle in. You take a step back, marvel at your work, and smile happily. Now you long to see them grow up; you cannot wait to see Babies eat their first solid foods, crawl, take steps, run, and go to school.
View, from left and from right
And Babies eventually do all that. They continue to develop, become Children, and learn all about the world they live in. You sometimes wonder how they got to be so big, from the tiny Infants that they were just Moments ago. You tell yourself take it all in. Now.
Left, tomatoes and cucumber; right, pumpkin taking over watermelon
You continue to marvel at their dazzling Selves. You notice their pretty eyes and handsome stature. You take lots of pictures to capture memories of their colorful Childhood.
Flowers, clockwise from top left: pumpkin, cucumbers, cilantro, green beans
Then during the middle school and high school years, things can get a little bit hairy. Out-of-hand, if you will. Teenagers start to eat away your monthly paycheck and grow like weeds. Why, I JUST bought new clothes for Adolescent, and he's grown another two sizes!
Dear Husband is not happy about the invasion of his grilling space
They even start growing in places you'd be embarrassed to look...
The Vines are taking over! The grill is surrounded!
But then you realize that Young Adults really are, just, growing well (maybe too well). By now, they've weathered a few storms (for realz, with toppled cages and all), had a few broken hearts (or stems). But as straggly and tousled as Teens look, they are still your Pride and Joy.
After a few megas-storms and insufficient cage rescues
And because you now see Children begin to bear some fruit of your love, you know that your hard work have and will continue to pay off, when they finally make some real contribution to society (in a few more weeks).
Baby fruit, clockwise from top left: pumpkin, Roma tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper
But what's even more surprising amidst this job called Parenting are the beautiful surprises that come with it. Like inadvertently finding a gift your Tween handmade for you. Or watching your Young Child bestow an act of kindness that makes him shine like a star. Or experience the magic of your Kid feeling perfectly at ease outside her comfort zone. Those are the moments when you know you've done something right. You know that They will be just fine.
Left, a robin's egg under a tomato plant; right, a spider web glistening in morning dew
Pumpkin growing on brick patio
As you wait to see the outcome of your labor, you realize that everything you've put into Them will likely, at some point, come back to you. Some mature earlier than others, and some, later. Either way, you will reap the rewards of the work you put in and taste the sweetness of your fruit.
Freshly-picked: left, spinach; right, green beans
So, Dear Farming, as the old saying goes, "you reap what you sow." Man, I had better have some good-tasting Grown Children in a decade or so.
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