Right after Passover we planted sugar snap pea and lettuce seeds in the chilly soil of the backyard. About seven weeks later (we know, because we’ve been counting!) we have what must look to the (many, many) ants like a tropical rainforest – a plot of earth thick with bright green and red-tinged leaves and long, curly vines grasping on to the trellises and one other for dear life. I look back at my seed packets and am reminded that it’s time to thin. I need to pull some of these beautiful little plants to make space for some of the other beautiful little plants.
Staring at my garden deliberating – no, make that, agonizing – over the decision of who stays and who goes, I realize that I don’t have the emotional fortitude for thinning. My girls and I have watched this garden almost daily, looking for those nearly imperceptible signs that something had happened. We celebrated each and every inch, rejoiced with every new leaf. How can we kill half of them? And yet, if we don’t, none of these plants will thrive.
I knew there was a metaphor in here somewhere, but it took my friend Sarah’s wonderful blog post about giving kids space to grow to crystallize the inherent and terribly important lesson to be learned. Hovering, and all the awe that comes with new life, may have its place in our gardens and our nurseries (the baby kind) and our homes, especially the first time around. But in the end, all living things need space to grow. I’d say more, but really, you should just read what she wrote. And me, I’m going to go kill some lettuce and peas.