Category Archives: children

>I Spawn Spoiled

>I Spawn Spoiled, Except in the Garden
July 13 2009

It must be me. I see that all around me there is a trail of spoiled. My cats, my kids, my co-workers and friends; all often seem too coddled and catered to. It has to be me. I must spawn a kind of spoiled hierarchy that I seem incapable of escaping, except in the garden.

I didn’t start gardening with a vengeance until I was 55 years old and by then I had learned a thing or two about boundaries. I had left a bad, abusive marriage; I had started my own consulting business and had plodded through oodles of therapy. Most of this “think and talk work” as my son called it when he was younger, taught me that I had to value myself and shower a little of the love and affection that seems to veritably ooze from my pores for progeny, pets and people onto me.

My big Maine coon cat will only eat white meat chicken and if it is steak he has to have all the fat rimmed and the pieces need to be bite-sized. My son is equally fussy in his carnivore tastes and my daughter wants everything local and organic. My husband will eat preservatives and fatty cuts of meat as he is the youngest from a big Southern family, but he doesn’t like to experiment as much as I do with cuisine and so I hold myself back even when it is just the two of us.

One of my co-workers doesn’t like to write grants unless they are 100% true, meaning she doesn’t do creative wiggling to fit into the mold the donor wants. So I get to do all of those. Hell I do not mean to imply that I am applying for salsa lesson money when we help mothers and kids born in prison. But I am willing to bend the rules a tad. She isn’t. It is a convenient way of getting out of things and not a route I know.

I am the one who say SURE, LET’S GO, I’LL HELP. What do you need? Another blanket, extra food, a ride to the store, help carting a couch up six flights of stairs. None of these is a frivolous example; all emanate from my I am here to help life. But I put my foot down with my garden.

I have half dozen separate gardens in the Hudson Valley and not one of them is high maintenance. Even the roses have to fend, flourish or perish. I love it. Why didn’t I think of this as a mantra when raising kids, picking mates or spoiling felines? The gardens are beautiful and they do spawn new blooms every year, which astound me with their grace and opulence. But there are also some lost by the wayside. The lilies seem to need protection from the deer; the roses need protection from the beetles and the black berries seem to be about to take over the world. Daises, mint, herbs, foxgloves and bee balm sprout in profusion. When it floods they thrive. And when the drought came last year they hunkered down and waited.

OK . . . I weed, I cut grass back, but not often and I water on very rare occasions. Most of my friends are slaves to their quite spoiled gardens and I am happy to report that my plucky garden gives me hope that my cat might live just fine on cat food and my tall, muscled son will continue to grow on a dinner not his number one choice. My daughter will not dwindle and die from inorganic 2% milk and my husband, sweet as he is, can with stand an experiment or two. After all, pizza abounds, so you won’t starve, no matter how spoiled you are.