One Room Challenge - Week 3
Well, the Midwest weather and a broken furnace ruined all our plans again this past week. With a dusting of snow and our Easter weekend plans shattered by having to deal with a broken furnace and moving Easter brunch to my parents, we didn’t really get around to making progress on the garden. But that’s ok, this weekend will be 70 degree here in Chicago and we aren’t leaving the garden until we get SOMETHING done. So in lieu of a weekly update this week, I thought I would talk a little bit about WHY gardening and why I’m so invested in it.
I had never really aspired to be a mother. I mean, I always knew I WOULD be a mom, but I never thought to myself, “I can’t WAIT to be a mom!” I kind of just figured it was something that would come one day. And then I couldn’t get pregnant and it was all I wanted. And then when I finally did, I couldn’t wait to have a baby and nurture him and nourish him and help him grow. It was the motherly, nurturing side of me coming out in full force. So when we lost Jack, I had lost all confidence in myself to be able to nurture. I couldn’t help my sweet baby boy feel better. I was completely and utterly helpless to saving him. And it all but destroyed me. I had lost all sense of my purpose for a while.
And then one of AJ’s aunts sent us a basket full of “condolence plants.” They were different than the bouquets of flowers we received. While the flowers were beautiful, they eventually died. No matter how much I pruned them or kept their water clean. It was just kind of the circle of life, right? But not the plants…the snake plant and pothos and squirrel foot fern. I kept watering them and they kept growing. In fact, they grew so much I had to repot them all. And I agonized over the PERFECT planters for them and the perfect place to put them so they wouldn’t get too much or too little sun.
Every three days like clock work I would water them and check them for new growth, or molding dirt, or leaves that were brown and dry and pinch them off. And then that summer, I took my planting to the outdoors. We planted whatever we could find from the tossed aside fruits and veggies at Home Depot. I didn’t have high hopes for my veggie garden, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did. And I felt like I contributed to it. I watered every day, and I pruned, and I fertilized. I made sure I gave them the best environment to thrive as I could.
And I LOVED it. I looked forward to every warm morning with coffee in hand as I walked through the dewey grass around my garden bed and checked on the hostas and the annuals. I loved watching the flowers bloom and the tomatoes turn red. My purpose was coming back. My motherly and nurturing instinct was coming back – not only was I helping something thrive and flourish, I was helping to feed our family too. And I couldn’t get enough.
So last year we grew our garden a little more and I nurtured it and watched it flourish too. And this year, it’s going to get a little bigger again. I’m not an expert by any means, but I enjoy learning new techniques and what goes where and what does well where we live and what plants love the sun and which love the shade. It’s like each plant or flower has it’s own personality….almost like kids or dogs.
Gardening has calmed me in my most anxious moments over the past two years. i can just BE in the garden. I don’t have to talk. I can just listen. I can meditate. I can touch the earth and feel it in my hands. I can share it with those I love, or I can keep it all to myself. It can be whatever I need it to be when I need it and it doesn’t ask for anything in return. The garden has been my solace. It has healed me in ways I can’t even explain. And I want to share with anyone who will listen the healing impact a garden can bring. No matter what you’re healing from.
*this post was inspired by an article in the April 2022 issue of Real Simple by Deborah Copaken who discusses gardening as a Grounding Method when dealing with panic attacks attributed to PTSD