Meredith Cruz Shannon Pacifica Garden
One foggy Saturday morning, as I sat clutching my chipped coffee mug and contemplating my sleep deprived existence (my two year old was up in the middle of the night...again), my husband approached me with an idea. He suggested we should create a family garden. He explained to me how he would make the garden boxes and the kids would shovel soil and plant seeds.
We could all watch the garden grow together as a family and appreciate nature. I looked at him and said "You have got to be kidding me.
I’m so exhausted! More work for me, on top of everything else I have to do. I'm going to give this idea a big NOPE". Apparently having a two and four year old made me resistant to new ideas.
Later that day we ended up at the garden store. Ever the pusher of new ideas, my husband was perusing the store and acting very motivated to give this family garden idea a try.
I crossed my arms, irritated , while corralling my son who was running laps through the garden center aisles. We bought bags of soil, seeds and a few plants. We even bought new watering cans for the children.
Upon returning home, we dumped everything in the backyard and proceeded to ignore it all for weeks. Finally, a few weekends later, my husband got to work. He got me outside, with the children and we all planted our garden.
I was not a motivated participant, but I begrudgingly sat outside and helped garden. We all worked together, despite the sleep deprivation and knowing I had about 30 chores to catch up on.
But...the craziest thing happened. Our plants began to grow! Our little family garden started producing vegetables and it was amazing.
Several months later, my husband had lost interest in the family garden, but I kept going outside to harvest, trim, plant and water. He still helps me haul trimmed leaves and soil around, but I mainly take care of the garden myself.
I rather enjoy it. And the children finally sleep, so I'm a little less sleep deprived and grumpy. I grow beautiful zucchini, squash, kale, tomatoes, blueberries, arugula, sweet peas, green onion, radishes and cucumbers.
Of course I had a few growing pains, as a gardener who knew next to nothing about gardening. I learned that expensive watering cans for children may end up being chucked into the neighbor’s yard, never to be seen again. I learned that you can, in fact trim zucchini leaves. You don’t have to live with the zucchini jungle in the back yard. I learned that if a tomato plant grows to a gargantuan size, a family of raccoons may use it to traverse onto the fence. Those are only a few things I learned about gardening.
I learned a little about myself as well. I learned that being open minded about new things can help me grow as a person. I learned that growing food that I feed my family and friends makes me feel good.
I learned that my children, who are now seven and five years old, enjoy taking care of the garden with me. They now see the value of being outside and getting their hands into the soil.
It has been three years since I started my vegetable garden. I realize now that this garden is very similar to my weight loss and fitness journey.
The beginning was extremely difficult. And I dragged my feet a lot, but in the end I love to use my muscles and work hard.
My life has changed quite a bit, for the better. Thanks to my persistent husband, the soil, seeds, sunshine and my children.