Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dressed For The Weather &Gardenin' Feet

Tommy was dressed for a rainstorm today. Never mind the fact that it was near 100 degrees all day without a cloud in sight....It never hurts to be ready! Well, he did make it to the sidewalk in the yard before he shed down to his tank top and swimsuit, much more appropriate attire. And to think we had a near melt down because he couldn't get the coat zipped up the right way... oh well. At least we got a funny picture out of the deal. Tommy proudly displays the book he earned at the library's Summer reading program. Tommy looks a little Frog and Toadish in this picture, don't you think?

Now, about gardenin' feet. I made a little observation tonight when I was working in the garden with the three oldest boys. It occurred to me that you could tell a lot about all four of us by our foot attire in the garden.

First, Ben. Ben was wearing my "outdoor crocs." In my attempt at simplicity and comfort, I have a summer "shoe" system. In the house I wear slippers, always. In the yard and garden, I wear my outdoor crocs, and in town I wear my nice crocs with the leather tops. So I was a little annoyed that Ben had snuck out into the garden with my outdoor crocs.This is a major faux pas in our house. Ben can get away with it, though, because he's one of the sweetest kids on the face of the earth. I thought, "That's just like Ben, comfortable in my shoes. He pretty much always listens to me and does what I ask of him. And he can get away with something annoying because he's just Ben."

Then I looked at John Paul, and he had his new "Muck" boots on that Grandma gave him for his birthday. I thought, "And that's so John Paul...always the fashion man, always wearing and doing what is right and cool and stylish. I'll come to his house one day and all his ducks will be in a row."

And then there's Will. Of course, he's hoeing his OWN garden, because he wants complete ownership over the whole deal. But it's O.K. At least he's gardening and outside with us, discussing plant DNA and why weeds grow faster than crops. He has a way of turning every situation into a science lesson. I like that. And Will's attire...well, he's barefoot. Ever free, doesn't want anyone to rein him in. He likes the feel of dirt between his toes and earth under foot. I once had a friend tell me that Will reminds her of the "Barefoot boy" in Whittier's famous poem. I can't say I disagree!

Then there's me. I'm standing in the dirt, which is quickly becoming mud as I am watering the plants...and I am wearing.. my town crocs. I'm feeling a resignation creep over me; the constant struggle to preserve what is "mine" in an ever-growing, large family can be overwhelming at times. For a second I feel slightly mad at myself for tromping into the garden in my "good" shoes (I mean, it's not like I had Gucci heels on, for Pete's sake). But to me, wearing my "town" crocs in the garden was a frustration, albeit a small one. As I look around, however, and take in the beauty of a cool summer evening, working in the garden with my boys, The frustration is replaced with something much greater: the realization that I have been entrusted with these precious children for a short time. What are shoes in eternity? It doesn't matter how are feet are garbed, as long as we complete the journey!