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Patience, Peppers, & Parenting

· Parenting,Gardening,family

Hey, from the garden, y’all!

We haven’t really had much of winter here in North Florida, it’s been nice, but strange. Most of my plants and flowers have died back, a few have hung on, but the garden still looks like it’s in a late-Fall state of mind. All of this warm weather has me itchin’ to get out and pull weeds, plant seeds, and get my hands dirty. The only problem, I keep hearing my Grammy’s voice in my head. She was an excellent gardener, her garden was always lush and beautiful and rivaled anything in Better Homes and Gardens. It was her opinion that you must wait until Good Friday to plant, and if Easter came late, then you wait until at least, March 15. That didn’t mean you couldn’t prep the garden, but you had to give the ground a chance to warm up. She never wore gloves in the garden, she said you could feel the temp and moisture of the soil better without ‘em. So you can see why I’ve been a little apprehensive to get anything started. I’ve wanted to so badly, but I’ve held back. Until yesterday…I couldn’t anymore, please forgive me Grammy.

As I was cleaning out my beds I came across a Bell Pepper plant that hadn’t completely died back. I was ready to cut him back, when under a few green leaves I saw it. Something very green, the size of a golf ball, what was it? It was a Bell Pepper…and there beside it was another one! Let me tell you about this particular Bell Pepper plant, it was front and center in the rows of Bell Peppers last year and all it produced was one pepper all summer and fall. One pepper!?!?!? And I had nurtured that thing from seed! And here it was, neglected for months, after a few cold spells and it had produced not one, but two Peppers! Well, as often happens in the garden, I couldn’t help, but shake my head and wax philosophical. My Grammy did this, too. I can remember her soft, South Georgia voice, proclaiming, with hand on hip some moral platitude in the pentas or a lesson about love in the tea roses. Well, these Bell Peppers got me to thinking about things. Sometimes you just can’t rush things. Especially with children. With the Peppers, I had carefully tended the seeds in pots until they were seedlings then planted them in the carefully prepared garden bed. I watered them, fertilized them, and maybe even sang to them a little. All for one Pepper. But all of my work wasn’t for nothing, the fertilizer had made them strong enough to survive the cold spells. And the location in the garden sun that I’d chosen for them kept them warm, and when they were ready, they grew, not one, but two Bell Peppers. With our children we must keep tending to them, watering them with words of encouragement, teaching them right from wrong, persevering even when it seems like it is not working. Because it is working. Their hearts hear you when it seems their ears don’t. Keep loving them and teaching them and be patient…they will bloom in their time just the way God intended.

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