Preparing for our first daughter to marry, I set about cleaning out every cabinet and drawer in the house. The event would bring friends and family into our home, and as a good southern gal, I needed to present our home in tip-top shape.
Then an e-mail arrived: our home owners association requested that we weed the flower beds near our mailbox. Oh, dear. We had spent the last six years traveling during this season, and I completely forgot about the outside of the house.
Excited at the possibilities of getting my hands into the dirt and deep breathes of fresh air, I headed outside on a mission.
The weeds were only part of the problem. The lifeless ground covering was in shambles. I did what any mother would…I called for my boys to help.
I spent the rest of the afternoon weeding, trimming, and breaking up disputes between these two expert boys. Then we jumped in the car and headed to the local hardware store to purchase a few annuals and perennials.
Getting back home, I took the opportunity to teach the boys how to tenderly plant new life into this mailbox area. When all was finished, it was beautiful.
From the mailbox area, we began working on other parts of the yard. We taught our older son to mow, weed eat, and use a blower. Our younger son helped mulch, scrub down the porch, and water the new plants.
By the end of the second day, the entire family had come out to give a hand. From planting new flower pots with an array of tiny flowers and ferns to helping move hundreds of pounds of mulch across the yard, within a few days we went from worst to first in our neighborhood.
Then day three arrived, and I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm our boys had for not just getting the yard into shape but also keeping it pretty. Our youngest attended the flowers each morning and checked to make sure they were watered well.
About a week later, our oldest son had mowed the lawn for the second time—without us asking. And then I watched from my office windows as our second daughter hooked up a hammock to the front trees and enjoyed the afternoon with a book and a glass of lemonade.
It has amazed me how receptive our children have been to the work and the enjoyment that gardening has brought. Maybe it’s the fresh air and the tranquility of all things in order. Perhaps it’s that kids, in a world full of consumerism and video games, simply enjoy the basics and the beauty of the outdoors.
Whatever the reason, an e-mail from the housing association caused this family to get things in order, and through it we found an avenue of spending time together and enjoying God’s creation.