It’s Spring, which means the scrawny potted Japanese Maple that lives on my balcony is coming back to life, and I’m once again wishing I had a yard in which to plant it and watch it thrive.
Every spring I wished for a garden of my own, on my own little plot of land. Then one year, for my birthday, that guy I married suggested that he’d get me a plot at a community garden, citing my obsession with having my own garden one day.
At first my reaction was “Aw… what a thoughtful idea.” And then my reaction was that of dread.
After sitting with the idea for about a month — putting off his suggestions of going and checking out garden plots every weekend — I realized there’s something wrong here. I don’t want this thing that I thought I wanted. But why not?
Then I realized… it’s because I dread the idea of having another thing to take care of.
I already have a husband and therefore a marriage to maintain, two dogs, and a cat, two websites, and a career, a two-bedroom apartment, two cars, several houseplants, and myself. I just didn’t want more living things that need my attention and care on my plate. I look at my weekly schedule, and there’s ONE day in the week where I don’t have an appointment of some kind for either my health, my relationship, or my job.
At first I felt bad for rejecting what would have been a sweet birthday gift that would possibly give my husband and I a project to work on together. Aaron has since gone on to get a garden plot for himself and he seems to be enjoying it. But I admit it, I’m glad I don’t have to drive several miles with him, after work, or instead of breakfast with friends, to tend to it.
I tell myself that, when I finally get that home I’ve been craving, I’ll create some space in the yard for a garden then. That way, even though it will be another THING to take care of, I at least won’t have to sit in traffic in order to do so. I’ll lump that into the “houseplants” category of “bitches that need my TLC.” And I’ll be happy that it’s my own garden in my own private space where I can garden bra-less and in my jammies if I want.
A few weeks after rejecting the garden idea, I was feeling pretty shitty about it, and spent some time with my sister. I then watched her and her husband chase and wrangle their daughters from sun-up to sun-down. Just watching them was making me all kind of stressed out and anxious. I sat back and thought, once again, that I was thankful to be child-free. And then I realize that, while having a garden is not like having a human child, that child-care-induced stress helped me to realize that I ultimately made the right choice in having one less thing to take care of. And I no longer feel bad for rejecting that very thoughtful gift from my husband.
It took Aaron a while to understand why I seemed to change my mind. We talked it out, and he understands now. The upside is that he’s having a good time “bringing home the tomatoes,” which he’d NEVER have realized he enjoys doing if I hadn’t have planted the garden idea in his head (all puns intended.)
Then for my birthday the next year Aaron, gifted me a fossil, and it makes me ridiculously happy every day — no care necessary.
Homies who are getting into the spirit of Spring: are you planting away? Or are you with me in staying “garden-free”?