We have had a beautiful spring that lasted about 11 days, and now we’re smack dab in summer. There hasn’t been any rain for almost 2 weeks, and with temperatures in the ’80s, we’re doing a lot of watering already. I was told by many people that northwestern PA is extremely wet, especially in spring. I did not expect to need drip hoses in my garden or watering cans on the daily for my potted plants. I am very grateful that we have plenty of water in our well and a creek where we can fill buckets for the baby apple trees we planted this spring.
I determined to finish planting every single thing by June 1st. At 6:00 tonight I was staring down the calla lilies my neighbor brought me, and the pink petunias I bought for the hummingbirds, and three packs of parsley, basil, and celery. I asked Rita, “Why did you let me buy this stuff?” I must stay away from greenhouses now, because I have an incurable urge to reach out and pick up plants when I see something new that I would like to try.
Happily I can say that I pushed through and 2 hours later I was watering and cleaning up. The garden is chock full, and the only seeds I didn’t plant were a few sunflowers that I decided we can live without this year. At this point I think I have planted every bit of space, but it remains to be seen what comes up. I can’t quite get used to waiting until after Memorial Day for a frost free date, but I learned my lesson last week when I got up one morning and saw actual ice crystals in my garden. I had to replant most of my tomatoes and peppers that I hadn’t covered because the forecast was a low of 40.
I repotted my house plants that are root bound and put them on the porches for the summertime. I like how it makes the house feel cleared out and the porches feel cozy.
I feel like I can take some deep breaths, just watch things grow, and pick herbs, and put bouquets in the house. It’s my favorite!
Rita has been mothering a baby robin that fell out of a nest very high in the tree. It had a small wound above its wing, and I was afraid it wouldn’t be able to fly. She has been very dedicated, feeding it worms and ground turkey and bits of bread (when she wants to give it a treat) every half hour for a week. Thankfully it sleeps all night, but it wakes up bright and chipper at 6:00 AM, gaping its little beak and begging for breakfast.
Tomorrow this girl turns 14, and she really wanted a parakeet. It has been over a year since hers died, and the pet shop in town didn’t have any when we checked for a replacement. Today when we stopped in, she found the yellow budgie of her dreams. I made a deal: the robin now lives on a low branch in the tree, not in the birdcage in the house. Everybody’s happy: me, the girl, the parakeet, even the robin.
This past week I saw a blurb someone had written about parenting. “My baby is growing so fast, we ought to get a one month leave from work every 6 months just so we can figure out how to parent for the next half year.” I understand what he was saying, but we don’t get to do that. I hate to break it to you, man, but you’re going to have to figure this out on the fly and that’s not all bad. I think about the bright little Amish children I see helping with their parents’ cottage industries, whole lines of them stair stepping. I can see how important they feel because they are helping the family and they know how to do things. It is a different sort of importance from what a child feels when his parents arrange their entire lives around his wishes and hopes. Pardon me, but I know which kind of child I prefer to spend time with.
I am at that stage of parenting where I am praying for grace to cover what I missed when my children were little, even as I continue to rely on grace for wisdom as they grow more independent. It’s all flying by and some day soon I’ll say, “It feels like it was about 11 days and then we hit another season.”
I want to remember this season, of dependent yet independent children.
I want to remember how the girls sleep in their camper playhouse, or in the sun porch, or in tents, just anywhere is preferable to their bed in this freedom that is warm nights and no school schedule.
I want to remember them sitting at the table having a tea party with friends all proper, then running outside to the woods and cooking crayfish and snake steak over their fire for a snack.
I want to remember how it felt to have a yard sale and there were three cashiers that were not me, and yet they were still cute enough to sell iced tea and brownies.
I want to remember the lists I make for all this energy to be put to good purposes, and then the library runs, the reading breaks, and the easy, restful days because we have been diligent and the laundry is done and the dishes are washed and the floors are clean.
I want to remember and watch and be like Mary and keep things in my heart, and hope all things for them as they grow.
It feels a lot like gardening, and Jesus, please send rain.