The Fruits of My Labor

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In late spring, my husband, children and I get so excited about planting our garden! We work together to get the space all ready, and LOVE heading to the store to pick out all the amazing plants we hope to see flourish in our garden!

Planting day is a family thing, with all of us working together, dreaming of all the tomatoes, peppers, melons, zucchinis and herbs we will be enjoying! The kids are always most excited about the raspberry, blackberry and strawberry plants that we planted 5 years ago to start producing!

What starts off as a family deal, with everyone excited, usually turns into a two man show once the weather starts getting above 100 degrees outside. My husband and I are then the only ones out there weeding the garden, watering it daily and doing the necessary things to keep bugs and slugs away from our precious fruits and vegetables. Once, when I was out there weeding the garden my youngest daughter asked me, "Mom, why do you even plant weeds if you have to just pull them out?" :P

Rob and I often like to head out together early in the morning to our garden, when the kids are still sleeping, with cups of coffee in hand to check on the garden and see what is growing. In the early summer, we can't wait for the first berries to start producing, and we usually check it a few times a day to watch the blackberries and raspberries ripening up in the sun. Yes, we are easily entertained!

Last week, with coffees in hand, we noticed that our blackberries were REALLY coming along. There were a few handfuls that would probably be ready the next day and I told Rob that I would make a big fruit salad for all of us to enjoy!

That evening, Rob and I were making dinner when our 11 year old son came in the kitchen smiling. We asked what had him so happy. And just as we noticed the purple all over his lips and teeth he exclaimed, "Wow. I just ate the best blackberries off our bush. They were SO good!"

Yep, that little bugger who watched us do all the pruning, weeding and watering went out there and ate every single blackberry that we had been watching grow for weeks. And he REALLY enjoyed them. The joy on his face (the blackberry juice, too) and the innocence of what he had done made us laugh. We laughed after we called him a little stinker, of course!

A friend reminded me that this is a little like parenting. We work so hard to love them and nurture them so that they grow up to be the best versions of themselves. And we are so busy doing all the hard work, it is often other people who get to enjoy the best of them. 

We spend so much time having to teach the lessons, guide them, discipline them and make sure they are doing what they should be doing, that we miss out on the maturing and developing they are doing. And the amazing people they are, now. There are those moments like when my teenager is performing on stage, when my son makes a touchdown on the field, or when my kindergartner grasps some new concept at school that I step back and think, "WOW. Look how well they are doing?!" 

But what about the normal day to day stuff? Am I seeing the little amazing things they are accomplishing every day? Am I enjoying them the way that their teachers, grandparents, friends and coaches do? Or am I just to caught up in the weeding and the watering to not enjoy them? 

I am making an effort to stand back a little and watch them grow. To marvel at the growth they make each day. To enjoy the ripening on the vine. And to enjoy the fruits of my labor, like other people do. 

But don't worry. Rob and I won't stand over their beds drinking coffee while they are sleeping. That would be creepy. :P