I was very surprised when Rebecca asked me, earlier in the summer, if she could have her own garden, and grow some flowers. I mean, I know that parents in the country are supposed to encourage gardening by offering a little corner of land to their kids for them to grow their very own plants. I did just that myself when the boys were little. Except that, instead of jumping at the occasion with budding entrepreneur- farmer aspirations, they'd looked at me puzzled: "Don't we already have a garden? Why should we have two more?"
When our third child came around, somehow I never thought she might feel different. So I was very surprised when Rebecca asked if she could do her own gardening. How could I have forgotten, even for a minute, that each child is different, quite often in ways that are the exact opposite of their siblings?
We hoed a new little corner at the edge of the garden, and although she ardently aspired to floriculture, I thought it best to diversify her initial cultivations. We planted some lettuce seedlings (for immediate gardener satisfaction), some radishes (fast-growing, for intermediate satisfaction), some large zinnias (for near-future satisfaction), and some bulbs (for long-term satisfaction).
Growing her own lettuce didn't seem to excite her much. Nor did pulling her own radishes (she gets to do that each springtime, after all). But watching her zinnias grow, bud and blossom, is a whole different story: she becomes all warmhearted as she speaks to her flowers with a sweet little voice, encouraging them to grow stronger.