I have to brag a little here (despite the fact that most of the credit should go to my husband). We have an awesome garden in our front yard.
When we moved into Salinas we figured we’d take advantage of the fact that we live in “The Salad Bowl of the World” and try our hand at growing our own suburban farm, of sorts. And boy, Salinas soil and weather (and a lot of my husband’s hard work) hasn’t let us down yet! We’ve been able to grow quite a collection of vegetables and flowers this year- most of which have decided to completely take over every inch of available space. It’s starting to look a little wild and unorthodox, but you know, I think we like it better that way. I suppose it’s a little reflection of our life right now. Unorganized, a little messy, things get lost or forgotten at times, but it keeps growing and changing and often surprises us with new flowers or fruit.
It surprised me in a different way a couple of days ago. A young woman knocked on our door around 7:00 in the evening. My immediate reaction was annoyance.
I’d been considering placing one of those passive-aggressive “The baby is probably sleeping, so please do not knock on our door unless you wish to feel the unhinged wrath of a sleep-deprived mother” signs (That may be less passive and more on the aggressive side of things now that I think about it). But I just hadn’t gotten around to it.
But, rather than ignore it completely, I grabbed my dog to prevent him from barking and asked my husband to answer it. It turns out she was a neighbor of ours from a few houses down who was admiring our flowers and was wondering if she could cut a few. “Sunflowers are my favorite flower and yours are so pretty, I just thought I’d ask to see if I could take a few home.”
My husband grabbed some scissors and helped her snip a few and she was on her way.
To be honest, we hadn’t planted those flowers solely for our own enjoyment. When we had moved into the neighborhood and started our garden, part of our goal was to make our whole neighborhood a little more beautiful and, ultimately, to have people literally share the fruits and flowers of our hard work and love.
Since we’ve brought a baby into our lives, though, I’ve noticed my mindset has changed. The past couple of months have been really difficult. I’m tired, my body still hurts, I’m often frustrated and full of self doubt and uncertainty. I want to isolate myself from everything because it’s just easier that way. If I don’t go out, I don’t have to pack up the car with all our gear, I don’t have to worry about messing up our nap schedule and I don’t have to talk to anyone about how I’m struggling. If I put a sign outside our door, no one will knock and wake up the baby and I won’t have to interact with anyone.
But, this little interaction pulled me out of that bubble of isolation for just a moment. She saw something beautiful in our crazy mess of a yard- something that made her go out of her way to talk to us and share in the beauty of our hard earned, but unorganized garden. It gave her joy and she took a piece of it home with her.
Who’s to say that isn’t true about us? Growth and change makes us uncomfortable, messy, unorganized, confused, lonely, maybe even depressed. But it also creates new, beautiful things that can be lost to us in the midst of our doubts and worries. Sometimes we need to give others a chance to walk up to our door and point them out. Perhaps they’ll even surprise us by wanting a piece of our beauty to take home and admire.