We're in the midst of summer gardening. For me this means lots and lots of beautiful plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I was skeptical at first, but these really work.
We were sitting on the front porch the other afternoon when a hummingbird flew up to a flower and had a snack. The girls squealed a little, then told each other to be quiet so they didn't scare the hummingbird. I kept thinking that if the squeals didn't scare the hummingbird, then a few whispers wouldn't do it.
A few years ago, I bought little gardening gloves at an end-of-the-year clearance sale. This year, the gloves finally fit. The girls make a big deal about putting on the gloves and helping in the garden. I have to admit that they do a pretty good job of pulling weeds. For them it's an adventure, so they happily go through the various flower beds pulling the little trees that sprout up and the various weeds.
The one place none of us dares to venture is the tomato garden. This is Daddy's domain. We just admire it and make sure it gets watered. The girls are so protective of Daddy's tomatoes that they warn everyone -- children and adults alike -- to stay out. Of course, we have 15 tomato plants (no, it's not a typo), so a little damage won't hurt too much. Woe to the person, though, who goes near the tomatoes. Just like all things Daddy-related, they are very protective.
The best thing about the garden is watching the girls play among the flowers. Nothing is off limits in the garden. They can touch and smell every flower. And, they still marvel every time a butterfly flutters by.
It's really a bounty of wonders. They get to watch the plants grow and die and come back the next year. They get to watch the butterflies, hummingbirds, dragon flies and other creatures enjoy the garden. They learn about taking care of plants. They play among the flowers like one of nature's jewels.
For us, the best part is watching them learn and grow. I was watching a friend play with her baby the other day and felt a bit jealous. In those baby days everything is a new adventure and everything is amazing for both the baby and parents. I realize as I'm watching the girls in the garden that those moments still happen. It's not the "you took your first steps" kind of moments any more. These are more subtle. You just have to pay attention a little more to make sure you don't miss them.