The Children’s Garden

Every Sunday morning as I open the gate and step into the garden, I am experiencing many emotions. I feel so much anticipation for all the beauty that’s about to happen; the kids will engage in wonder and creativity; there will be new growth and flowers that we didn’t have last week; there will be many moments that seem to be miracles. I am gratefully guaranteed to witness those things. Also, as I am stepping in, there is a place in my gut that doesn’t feel so good. Because it’s a near guarantee that I will find plants trampled, garbage strewn in and near the garden and work that was done has now become undone. “Oooooh noooo”, I quietly say with some disbelief, even though I have learned to expect it.

There it is, the damage, and now what? Do I rail? How indignant do I want to get over it? After allowing myself to feel the disappointment for a bit, I realize it is time to move into another way to be, time to forgive trespass. Kids are coming. They have so much joy here. Time to remember that’s what this garden is for and that in spite of what isn’t “right”, all of the elements that the children need to access their joy, curiosity, creativity are here. And the love for each other, themselves, creation and Creator is here.

Invariably, the children notice right away that the garden looks wonderfully different, somehow, from last week. They move in for a closer look. What’s blooming? What creatures do we see? I hear, “Is there something that we can plant?” and more questions. Each child chooses how they wish to engage and gets to doing it. Maybe that is continuing to work on the birdbath mosaic, or maybe painting a stepping stone or a weeks-long group project on a large canvas. Always, rolly pollies are found, gathered, examined and returned. This week we discovered that the toad from last year is still snug in the home that was created specifically for it last year. Once in a glorious while, one will make the choice to lie down on the quilt, relax and tune in. Aaaahhh…

We may find disappointment from unwelcome surprises in the gardens we plant. Plant and enjoy the garden anyway.