They had outgrown the plastic apple box. It was a great mini-greenhouse to start them off in, but they needed more depth as they were getting too tall.
“They just seem too confined and restricted,”I had thought to myself.
“If I take care to make sure their pots are good, they will thrive,”I thought confidently.
I mixed some good compost with cinders and perlite to lighten it up a bit so the little darlings would be able to move their roots about happily.
“This is like parenting”, I reflected. “Make the right mix of structure, good stuff and love and everything will turn out alright.”
“Our happy, positive energy will help them grow!” I was so optimistic.
Less than 24 hours later they were dead. And not just wilted and sad dead, but not even worth taking a photo of because there was no green left- dead.
So what happened?
No matter what care I took to plant them in the right stuff, they couldn’t survive without constant protection. They weren’t ready for the big world yet.
The sun was too hot. The wind and rain were too much. My seedlings in the garden, however, under the picnic-dome, are doing great.
And this gardening lesson made me think about our son, and how many questions we parents of young children field on a given day about when they might go to school, when are they going to get potty-trained, when are you going to wean, when are you moving them to their own room, when are you pushing them to the next phase?
The impulse is to think they are confined and restricted, they need more space. Because culturally and socially, we place a high value on independence, self-sufficiency and freedom.
But what if they instead need the constant picnic-dome protection for a while longer, until they are ready to face the Big World? What if the wind, sun and rain might just be too much for their little roots to handle?
And how might they thrive if I protect them for a bit longer?