Another summer has come and went and I am having a mixed array of emotions about it this year. Accomplishments are varied and random much like this blog. With my youngest entering the 8th grade, I can’t help but feel like the days of childhood are slipping away right before my saddened eyes. Watching the kids hop onto the bus brings a single silent tear just as it did when I watched them barely able to climb the giant step when entering kindergarten.
The summer was not incredibly event filled but I had a lot of time with them. They helped me toil around the garden and made priceless expressions of anticipation with the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. We tried new recipes, planted new plants, and enjoyed a fairly good harvest together. We attended birthday parties, road trips, fishing, and a mini vacation. We visited with family and I waited patiently for them to return home from trips with their friends. We also had backyard camp-outs and made s’mores just as we have every summer.
We had our share of conflict about how much money to spend on this or that, but I think they are learning the value of a dollar. My oldest daughter recently returned from a two week long stint house sitting for a friend. She began to panic a bit when food was running out and all that remained was a frozen chicken in the dark recesses of the old freezer. Instead of coming immediately to her rescue, I explained over the phone how to prepare the frozen chicken and how a little planning can go a long way! She also discovered how expensive food can be and I would like to believe that she is beginning to see (in part) why growing fresh nutritious food is important to me.
The other kids have been watching me can jar after jar of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, pizza sauce, tomato soup, BBQ sauce, and pickles. I didn’t think they cared all that much being teenagers and all. BUT…then I overheard my daughter talking to two different friends about all of our home made food from the “Stuff” from our garden. I also overheard her having a conversation with a friend about organic tomatoes and how she loosened the trench to ensure bigger carrots! Amazing! We had our disappointments in the garden (especially the potatoes), but I feel pleased and blessed over-all. Also, harvest is not over yet!
My son learned a lot working on a friendly neighbors alpaca farm while utilizing some skills that he already knew.
My daughter tasted the difference for herself when she gathered and cooked fresh organic eggs from another neighbor.
They all earned their own spending money and had less help from my husband and I than previous years. My eldest bringing in more clients and tip money at beauty school. My son doing odd jobs and wheeling and dealing on eBay and Craig list. My youngest daughter detassling corn in the humid hot sun. I was able to send her into the store with school supply list in hand and she frugally got everything she needed with the exception of a calculator in which her grandpa helped her out.
All and all a good; albeit too short of a summer. I never imagined myself caring for a garden or even thinking about how to grow things or where my food came from when I was a teenager. I am glad that my kids are open, if not slightly impressed with the idea.