We just planted our tomato and pepper seeds so they will have a good 12 weeks or so to grow healthy and strong before we plant them into the garden for the summer. It means spring is near, even though March is just beginning. It also makes me think about how tired and anxious I am to get back outside in the warm sunshine after being cooped up in the house all the grey, long winter with three little kids who want Mama to provide constant entertainment, creativity, love, adventure, fun….and oh yeah, clean clothes, home cooked meals, organized home, transportation, and keep Daddy happy too!
Like in the early season of a garden, I am in that season with my family. As I mentioned we just planted our tomato and pepper seeds. That is the easy part, you pop the seed into good soil and sit back and wait until something sprouts. You just have to water it and watch it. It was pretty much that easy for us with making the kids too. I am not going to get too technical, but planting the seed was definitely the easiest part in starting our garden! Once they are sprouting and developing (tomato plants and children), it is pretty easy and hands-off. God does most of the work there. While you wait you prepare your garden, gather the supplies you need for the year and get excited about what’s to come. You are ready to take it on. Come late May (in Northeast Ohio) it is time to get your hands dirty! Hours and hours of spreading the compost, tilling the soil, creating rows, putting your plants in the ground, taking the appropriate measures to protect them from danger and threats, and of course you want it to all look pretty at the same time. You want your garden to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, even though the most important function is to produce healthy fruits.
Well, I am in the planting season with my young little family. It is dirty, tiring and hard work; fun most of the time. And while I am careful not to idolize my home or my family image, I do strive to have a nice home and desire to have a healthy marriage and pleasant little children to show when we are out in the world. Our garden looks healthy and hopeful for a good harvest in the future most of the time, but there are definitely times when we are taken over by weeds and bugs or critters have eaten and destroyed our foliage. When we find ourselves in that condition, it is important to check back on those roots that were the first to start growing from that seed. Make sure they are still strong and have the appropriate space to spread. Nourishment and love will get those plants looking beautiful and healthy again. And one day in the future they will be ready to be harvested and shared.
I am learning that raising a family and marriage are always a work in progress. Like the garden, you cannot neglect any element for a period of time or it is susceptible to becoming weak or damaged. Constant attention and care is required everyday if you want that harvest late summer. Of course it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the obvious fact that God plays a major role in all of this (and I’m still talking about gardens and kids); without rain, sunshine, and his great blessings bestowed upon us, our gardens and crops would wither away. And you pray the end result will be promising and worth the blood and sweat.
The fact that it is March and my family is still eating green beans, onions, beets, tomatoes, squash, eggs, chicken, fish and deer from our garden and efforts last summer/fall gives us the motivation to do it all again this new season! Maybe this part would be comparable to me looking forward to a new garden of grandchildren one day. Life is good and God is good. Bring on the spring!