Missing a green thumb


The sun, missing for weeks it seems, poked its head out from the clouds. The temperatures actually rose to a comfortable short sleeve t-shirt level. In turn, the tulips and daffodils seemed to appear out of nowhere. The grass too seemed to darken a shade or two overnight.

With spring finally here, better late than never in my book, I finally got outside last weekend to clean up the broken branches and debris that were littering my yard. I even dusted off the mower to make sure it’s ready for summer.

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A mother’s love

plant-1474807_640When I wiped the sweat off my face, I couldn’t stop thinking of my mom. When I was a kid, spring was my mother’s favorite time of the year. When I got off the school bus, I raced up the street to my house to change my clothes, get my baseball glove, and get ready for baseball practice. When my mom got home from work—no easy cake job either, but that’s a blog for another day—she raced to get outside to work in the yard. Throughout the spring and summer, you would find her barefoot in the yard planting and weeding her various vegetable and flower gardens.

tomatoes-2669861_640When she picked me up from baseball practice later in the evening, I would come home head-to-toe dirty from diving in the baseball diamond to spear a line drive or sliding into home plate. (You weren’t playing if you weren’t dirty.) When she was finally done for the night, she would come back into the house smudged with dried dirt and mud from working in the yard and place a small potted plant or a tray with a tomato or two for us to eat later in the week.

tomato-2450370_640I’d like to say that I inherited my mom’s love of gardening. I’d like to say I inherited her green thumb, but I’d be lying through my teeth. I mean well. Every year this time of year, I get an urge to plant a garden in the back of our yard. I’ll walk through the garden centers in Lowes or Home Depot, picking out tomato plants, carrots, potatoes, sunflowers, various herbs. I’ll even look at the flowering annuals like petunias and geraniums. We have small yard, but certainly room enough to create a garden.

Skipping a generation

The urge is strong, but then reality settles in. For my mother and others like her, gardening is a labor of love, a relaxing hobby, something fun to do in your spare time, even a way to help supplement the dinner table. For me, it’s work, hard work. I’d much prefer opening my laptop and catching up on work emails than working in the yard. I’m not scared of the manual labor. I mow my yard each weekend and keep my yard presentable, but I get no enjoyment from the gardening work. I find I inevitably don’t have the right tool or have more questions than answers. Is this a plant or a weed? 

My mom takes it easy on me, but I imagine that she shakes her head at me. She doesn’t garden much anymore, but I expect that when she’s all alone she cries out, “my crazy son.”

Fortunately for my mom, I think her green thumb has just skipped one generation: my oldest son’s lone Christmas Wish this year was to have a plant for his college dorm.

You might get one yet Mom.

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