“For all hobbits share a love of things that grow.”
This summer, every venture into the backyard started with the excited cry “let’s go check on the garden.” My 3.5yo sprinted ahead of me through the grass toward the back of our lot, already intent on the raised beds I put in in the spring. “Look! The tomato is getting bigger! And here’s our first pea!” (every pea is the first pea, just as every bean is the first bean and every carrot is the first carrot).
I’m pretty sure that I’ve killed every house plant that I’ve ever owned—including cacti. Hell, if I’m being completely honest, my first year as a gardener wasn’t that much more successful: I gave the cucumbers some sort of fungus by watering their leaves; the broccoli was ravaged by cabbage moths; the tomatoes were put into the ground too late to produce much of anything; and both the potatoes and carrots had far more above the soil than below thanks to over-fertilizing. The difference now that I’m older, though, is that I’m starting to learn from my mistakes; next year will be better.
None of this matters to my son, though. In his eyes, our garden is the pinnacle of success, each tiny carrot a delight, and each pea a source of excitement. I expect that next year will be no different—the joy for him isn’t about a large harvest, it’s about cultivating life, nurturing it from humble, tiny beginnings and watching it flourish, becoming ever stronger and more amazing.
Watching my son, his touch careful and gentle on tiny tomatoes and pea blossoms alike, his tiny face joyful and delighted, I guess that’s what matters most to me, too.