For the last several years I have spent my early spring planning out my beautiful garden. You know like the ones on Pinterest with the all the plants in neat containers and overflowing with bounty. With this image in mind, I toil through the spring getting the soil ready and planting my seeds. Each year I get a little closer to my image. The first year, within months my walkways were covered with weeds taller than my planting beds. I didn’t realize my dream included weeding. The next year, I began laying wooden planks from our scrap pile to deter the weeds. It worked, but I didn’t get them all laid before the plants began growing over making it impossible to finish. This year my planks are laid. My picket fence is black iron and was cheaper and easier to get in place, but it still keeps the dog out. Many of my plants are growing on their own and I weed regularly instead of waiting until I can’t find the plants I planted. My beautiful arbor walkway covered in cucumber plants will have to wait until next year. Instead, the cucumbers will just continue climbing up the sunflowers which decided to plant themselves.
I had a dream. It didn’t turn out exactly as I imagined. In large part it is because I failed to do the work it takes to make a garden look like the ones you see in magazines. The first couple of years I was amazed at the time that it takes to water, weed and nurture a garden. I resented it and hated it. But it encouraged me by producing beautiful harvests. I was encouraged and tried again. Each year I’ve taken more steps to match my garden with my image but also match my expectations with reality. The reality is growing things is hard. It takes time, patience and love.
As my summer is closing in fast and I’m starting to think about sending my baby off to college, my garden reminds me of the lessons I hope my son carries with him. I had so many dreams for my son, but as he has grown, I’m learning the lessons my garden has been trying to teach me. He is not my dreams. I may have planted the seeds but he must now be the one to grow. I’ve nurtured his growth and encouraged him to climb and grow in certain places and directions, but ultimately, he will chose his path. Sometimes he will grow on his own, sometimes he will benefit from weeding, other times he will need me to provide support and nourishment. Most of the time it won’t look like a beautiful Pinterest picture, even though the ones I hang and share will make it look as if it’s perfect. It will be messy and exhausting and even discouraging. But that’s ok, because now I know that growing things is hard. It takes time, patience, and love.
Do you have a dream? Don’t give up because it doesn’t look like you thought. Keep at it. Let it grow. See what steps you can take to shape and nurture it. Remember, growing things is hard. Give it time, patience and love!