So often, in the grind of work and tending little ones and tending to a home and adults who need feeding, too, it's easy to get caught up in what isn't going right—no nap, not enough time for yourself, not enough time to do everything, no way to do anything with two cranky three-year-olds. And then there are other days, days when even though one kid doesn't nap and it's hot and I'm tired we somehow manage to putter along happily all afternoon. Those days, I'm living as much in the moment as my kids are. I'm able to feel contented with this moment, with this life, with this place.
|What happens when he's having a hard time sleeping.|
Usually, that feeling of ease emerges when we're able to spend the afternoon oscillating between backyard and kitchen, when I'm able to accomplish something I need to do, but not under pressure to do it all. When I'm able to pay attention to what the boys need, able to be unruffled. The backyard is a naturally peaceful place, full of birds chirping, soothing breezes and an unending variety of creepy-crawly life.
|Checking out some worms.|
I have a master plan to plant a bunch of stuff in the yard, which is at this moment a total blank slate. But a knee injury has had me sidelined since February, and while I'm almost all healed, I'm still not up for digging a bunch of grass up for hours every week.
|Yep. The whole yard looks just like this.|
Still, dirt is good. Soil on your hands is grounding (ahem). I want to say something profound about how slowing down and working with the earth and watching plants grow makes me a better mom and a better person. But I've kind of said that already, before kids. So, I found a few pots at garage sales, and spray-painted an old file cabinet that our neighbor was giving away. The afternoons that we've spent loading dirt into pots, planting, and watering have been absolute bliss.
|Not shown: sleeping brother.|
We dug together, planted together, and now I look outside and can enjoy the sight of things growing.
Gardening with my kids is much less stressful than cooking with them. No matter how patient I try to be, I can only cook with the boys about once a week before I get frustrated with the legos in the batter and the hands in the raw meat. Outside, there isn't much harm they can do aside from too-vigorously separating root balls or overwatering. Outside, where nothing can break or spoil, not really, is heaven.
|Maybe it's their wonder at the green and growing world.|
I am happy to make the shift from grass to garden one day at a time, to stretch out the hours my boys and I spend digging and patting and tending and exploring. I miss our old garden, but this new space gives us the infinite promise of tomorrow's work. We have plenty to do.