Taming the Garden

Somewhere in the years, Mother’s Day became and emotionally complicated holiday. It didn’t used to be. I try not to make it so now, but sometimes it is because my children and husband want to do something nice for me and I want to let them, but I don’t want them to feel obligated. Sometimes it slides by without a ripple and all is happy. Other years it is a fraught day with emotions other than happiness and contentment, even though all of the scripts state that Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day when Mom is happy. This year I saw the holiday coming. I also know that money is tight and so the last thing that would feel happy is extra expense. I sat everyone down yesterday and declared that what I really want for Mother’s Day is for our yard to not be an absolute wreck. I was surprised at how willing the kids were to go along with this plan. I think they liked having a clear goal.

This morning the work began with clipping and clearing. We broke out the mower for the first time and trimmed back various bushes and vines. The pom pom spruce got sheared back. We stared at the apricot tree and the pear tree, but both have gotten so tall that we’re going to need some sort of a pole saw to give them the trimming that they need. Four hours of work across five people and we’ve cleared away a significant mess. This evening some of the dry branches will have a second use as fuel for our fire pit. There will be smores. Next week will all be hands and knees work. We’ll need to get down into the flower beds and pull out all the extra grass. I want to clear the dirt enough that I can sprinkle seeds. I’d love to plant flowers that will bloom this year, but I don’t have the funds for that. I can do seeds though. I have a big stock of them that have accumulated over the years.

At one moment during the morning I stood and watched my kids at work. They were all focused on their tasks at hand, which is not at all how family work days used to go. They functioned as a crew and got lots of work done. Then afterward they did more things together. I have to remember that we play together more happily when we’ve worked together first.

It would be so lovely to spend this summer glad every time I step outside my door instead of sad and guilty. That would be a lovely gift indeed.

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