I’m on this simplification kick. Two years after I became a full-time mom (in an effort to simplify), we are overloaded again. Karate, dance, Cub Scouts, church, homeschooling, play dates, social obligations… So I sat down and listed everything we do, and now I’m ruthlessly slashing.
When I came to “vegetable garden,” I laughed (maniacly, I’m afraid) and struck the words through with a Sharpie. Each year, about three weeks before Memorial Day, my husband becomes somewhat crazed as he hunts for the perfect tomato specimen, the hottest habanero. His place setting is often empty from May to June and the rest of us dine while he heaves compost. Then there’s the endless weeding, then the harvest and subsequent canning and freezing (and zucchini bread coming out my ears).
Vegetable gardens are nice, no question, but they’re lots of work and, in my opinion, they’re a nice-to-have. So I told hubby I was simplifying and thought we should forego the garden this year in favor of…less things (I hadn’t really thought my argument through at that point; I assumed he’d think the idea was brilliant). I told him we could get our veggies from the farmers market and won’t it be nice not to have so much to do? He smiled and said he was all for simplifying. A few days later I looked out back to see the garden bed tilled, and hubby juggling a gazillion cell packs of cukes and tomatoes.
I bit my tongue for a few weeks, but yesterday we fell into the inevitable planting-time bickering and I couldn’t help myself. I sat down beside the garden as he watered and plucked at wayward weeds. I told him I didn’t understand why, after what we talked about, he still insisted on planting the garden. Why was he stressing himself (and me) out? Couldn’t he see it was too much?
His response? “I know I don’t talk about it much, but to me this is simplifying. This relaxes me. And I know I don’t always live like it, but I care very much what goes into our bodies, and especially our children’s bodies. With this, I know where our food came from and I don’t have to wonder if it’s riddled with pesticides. If you have other suggestions on what we can give up so we’re not so harried, I’m all ears. Seriously. But this garden is for you, for me and our children.”
Well, don’t I feel sheepish?
And so the garden stays. Now…where’s that list?