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Tending our Garden

As you may have guessed, the wonder of parenthood is a busy blur of meetings, activities, chauffeuring, entertaining, meal preparation, and more! All continues to go well and I know some of you have had the opportunity to meet Kiddo "in person".  We have really enjoyed introducing her to some of our favorite things.  Friday included a trip to Comedy Sportz, where she instantly captured the hearts of some of our fellow playerz. Also on the agenda was an Easter Egg Hunt with friends, church, and a fabulous family dinner. 

On Saturday, I finally found some time to do some gardening.  I only pretend to have a green thumb, relying every season on my stepfather, the Master Gardener, to direct my planting, trimming, and fertilizing decisions.  After a cold winter, it felt so good to dig in the dirt and add some color to the yard.

The Butterfly Bush at its first planting
It was during my time in the garden that I thought a great deal about both Charlotte and our role as parents.  It was barely four years ago on Easter weekend that Roger and I planted the butterfly bush in a planter that contained Charlotte's ashes in the front bed of our house.  Since that time, the plant has thrived, growing each year and attracting more than its share of butterflies and other insects. This weekend, Roger trimmed the plant down in anticipation of the new growth we will surely see this summer.

A view of last year's Butterfly Bush growth
Planting perennials is a lot like having children.  Most gardeners start with seedlings (or even seeds!), allowing for the growth that will come from year to year.  With the right mix of light, soil, water, and fertilizer, your plants will grow successfully.  Sometimes, they are so successful, you need to trim or split the plants to make room in the rest of the garden.  If the mix isn't quite right, though, you can lose a plant.  The hole might have been too shallow (or too deep). It got too much or not enough of all the required elements.  Sometimes there seems to be no reason at all.  One of our azaleas failed to come back this year. It was strong and healthy last year and just suddenly died.  While we were disappointed with this, the opportunity presented itself for us to get a new plant for the same spot.  It's a different color and even a different variety (we went with a purple dwarf rhododendron in its space) but it brings beauty to that corner of the yard all the same. 

Some new blasts of color for the backyard
So it is with our role as parents.  In the "traditional" pathways, we start by bringing infants into our home. We give them all the right elements of love, attention, food, discipline, and education.  Every child's temperament is a little different. Some require more or less of each. Like plants, many kids are resilient.  I have some houseplants in my office that seem to thrive no matter how much I water them.  Others are more sensitive, freezing in the winter or frying in the hot summer sun.  

While we lost our Charlotte, we have found our Kiddo. Not as a replacement but as another "sprout" that we can help to grow to maturity.  Now we have to find just the right mix for her particular needs. 

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