Monday, August 25, 2008

Nurture, Nature, and Hoping for the Best

We all know that children are like gardens; each child is as different as a lilac bush and a tomato plant, but they all require certain care in order to grow to their full, unique potential. And although in most cases, we will reap what we sow, we also have to figure in those months of drought, or those seasons of locusts that threaten to destroy what we've carefully tendered for so long. In the case of teens however, the season of drought could be a dehydration episode from a week-long losing streak at beer pong; and we all know the "locusts," those friends/boyfriends/girlfriends that seem to want nothing more than to take our precious flowers and eat them alive. But somehow, we manage to get through it. Finally, it's time for the harvest; the bountiful cornucopia of knowledge, maturity, confidence, and independence.

Sunday, we dropped my daughter Kayla off at college. Well, "drop off" seems a bit minimal. It was more like we moved her and every ounce of her belongings in, and all that was missing was the chihuaha. My Elle Woods wanna-be seemed as though she was completely taking over her double-dorm room (oh, excuse's not a "dorm", it's a "student residential hall" or some nonsense like that), and I feared that Kayla's very sweet roommate and her family might think my daughter a tad high-maintenance. I personally never viewed her as such until that day. Sadly, most of what she brought were items that both her stepmother and I felt that we could not live without...I could pretty much guarantee that we could have made it up in one car instead of two if we had just stayed out of the packing end of it. But alas, there is a bridge and a toll between Kayla and the rest of us, and I guess we just wanted to make sure we could avoid paying $5.00 each way just to bring her a lint roller or some triple antibiotic. She's pretty much all set.

So here I am, wondering where on earth the last eighteen years of my life went, and reflecting on whether or not I nurtured her as well as I could have, should have. The subject is really moot. I think we all do the best we can at a job that has no formal training and doesn't even come with a manual. We wing it, and we hope for the best. And I might say that right now, I'm happy with the way Kayla blossomed. I look forward to seeing her in full bloom someday, and she has many wonderful seasons ahead of her.

Now, onto my real garden of soil, weeds, and hopeful plantings. The strawberries are coming along as expected...I did get four or five tiny, sweet fruits back in June, and I think that's appropriate for a first planting. I hear that next year, they'll be taking over my yard. The grapes did not fare so well; as a matter of fact, they were looking rather anemic this morning. I decided to feed them with some makeshift plant food: egg shells, lettuce bottoms, lemon skins. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it sort of resembled compost in its early stages. I'm hoping the vine thinks it's yummy.

But my fig tree...aahhh, this is the trophy of my yard. I don't know why I plant
ed it...something to do with my late grandfather growing figs most of his life, and no one carrying on the tradition (the same goes for the grapes...I planted them with the hopes of resurrecting his tradition of growing his own fruit and making his own wine. Why this skill was never passed down through the generations is beyond me). I was never particularly close to my grandfather--he passed away at the ripe, old age of 92 when I was a teen--but I'm really starting to appreciate how he lived his life. He grew his own food, and he consumed it. Of course, he also started each day with a supposed concoction of whiskey, raw eggs, and sugar. But hey, he was still standing on his own two feet until he died...

I digress. Back to my figs.

As I've mentioned, I wasn't sure if I'd like figs, but after reading about their nutritional value, I decided I was going to have to eat them whether they tasted
good or not (for example, figs contain the highest overall mineral content of all fruits: a quarter-cup serving provides 244 mg of potassium, 53 mg of calcium, and 1.2 mg of iron). Although the newly-planted tree only produced about 15 fruits this year, next year we should be plenty prepared to can, preserve, and just plain eat these tasty, nutritious little dumplings. I'm feeling very hopeful, and I feel like I really accomplished something this summer. Lots of things, actually.

Now, if only I could figure out the task of pruning and protecting this tree (which I have to do with items such as burlap, I hear). But that's another story f
or another day.


LZ Blogger said...

I love that last picture! Too (and two) CUTE! ~ jb///

annie said...

They grow so fast don't they! Amanda is 18 and I find myself thinking about how fast these 18 years have gone daily! She is a senior in HS so we have her one more year, but I imagine it will be so hard to see her move away.

Your daughter is beautiful (so are you) :)

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Jerry,

Awww, thank you! My daughter is very adorable. I haven't been called "cute" in about twenty pounds--OOPS--I mean twenty years! You're very kind.

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Annie,

So wonderful to hear from you. I'm trying to get all my cleaning done today so I can spend a few hours tonight catching up on everyone's blog...I hope all is well with you!

Yes, these kids just grow up when we're not looking, don't they? We do have the convenience that she's not THAT far away--it's really only about 45 minutes, minus traffic--so it's pretty much the best of both worlds!

And thank you for the complement. I don't usually post pictures of myself anymore (not since the haircut fiasco I had last year--thank goodness, it grew fast), but I liked this one of us!

Take good care,

Shimmerrings said...

She's going to be just fine, you've done a wonderful job of her, she's in college, that says a lot! Great pictures, happy shining faces!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I'm so happy to hear from you! Thank you, I guess we all hope we've done a good job with our kids...she's had a little bit of uneasiness with school, but I think it's mostly on the social end with the more seasoned students (not her roommates, thank goodness--she loves them)! Hopefully, she'll toughen up a bit and she'll just realize what she's truly there for. One can only hope!

Take good care,

Betty said...

You and your daughter are both beautiful young women- you look like best friends instead of mother and daughter!

I dread the day that I have to do this with my son. I will go home to a truly empty nest. I'm glad that your nest isn't totally empty- it's just a little more spacious.

I thought that fig trees were hard to grow. I saw one in a guy's yard here, and he was so proud of his fig tree which he had managed to keep alive! I'm sure you do have to protect them over the winter. There's plenty of advice on the internet, I'm sure.

May your daughter thrive in this new phase of her life!


Loving Annie said...

Happy Sunday to you, Dust Bunny !

I loved your analogies. I think you have done a great job with your garden - the children one and the fig one :)

And the hot pink bedspread is perfect for your girl !

Carine said...

loved your stories Lisa, good luck to your lovely daughter. I love figs by the way. My sister has a tree-she can't dry them fast enough. I love them fresh-yum.
Love the pink spread!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

You are too kind!! I didn't feel young that day, funny enough...ha ha. My ex and I actually stood in the parking lot, gave each other a hug, and congratulated each other on a job well done...for now!! Then we commented about how old we felt...I still can't believe she's in college!

I picked my last fig the other day, and I don't know who ate it! But it's gone. I hope I can protect the tree enough so that I don't kill it by next spring...I heard it's supposed to be a tough winter, so hopefully it survives!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Loving Annie,

It's funny how life goes around in circles...Kayla LOVED pink when she was little...then she HATED it up until recently...I was SHOCKED when she wanted a pink dorm room!! But it came out beautiful. Her roommate's mom actually got them curtains after that picture was posted! It's a great room!

Thank you for your are very sweet, as always.

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

I'll have to get your sister's method for drying them...I have no clue what I'm doing. I'm lucky I planted the thing and got some fruit from it!! But I am hoping for a more successful harvest next year with all my plantings.

Thank you for your good-luck wishes!

Take good care,

Kacey said...

Don't blink or she will be graduating before you know it! I have one of my grandsons interning at the studio where Ugly Betty is filmed. He was a baby just the other day and now is going to graduate from Nyack College in May. Hope he finds a girl half as cute as your Kayla. Come to think of it, I have one who is a second year Law student at Penn and he needs a girl, too.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Kacey,

Hello, my dear Kacey!! I've missed you so. Funny, my daughter is going for broadcast journalism, and should be interning next year in Manhattan. Nyack is only about 25 minutes from her college, as a matter of fact! I would like my son to go to Penn, but we shall for my Kayla, well, she's a tough cookie. She is quite a character, but she's a moody little thing sometimes! She can make you wet your pants with laughter, and the next minute you want to strangle her. But then again, she is an 18 year old girl! I think she'll be an amazing adult someday...and my best friend.

Hope all is well with you!

Take good care,

Big Dave T said...

Brings back memories for me too. I remember my son being at college and winning some kind of a challenge at a local bar. I told him I'd prefer that he make the dean's list. "It's one or the other, dad, I can't do both," he said. *sigh*

Now, he's making plans to get married, has a decent job with benefits and is seeing a realtor tomorrow about buying a house.

So they eventually blossom just as you say. That's a great photo of you two together. I wish I could take a picture like that (and the double meaning is intended).

Carine said...

I was a broadcast/journalism major! it's an exciting field, hope she does well.
As for the figs-she just bought one of those inexpensive air dryers. Just follows the directions. I will tell you though, She gave me several bags, I figured they were dried and I could put them in the pantry. NO! Luckily I went in and decided to chop them up for oatmeal cookies. Fresh ones are so delish.

Down Comforter said...

Love the pink spread!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Big Dave, are too funny!! But yes, you're right, they do grow up eventually, and how wonderful for your son that he's taking steps toward being a mature adult! Good luck to him!

Thanks for the complement on the picture. My daughter dyed her hair brown basically the next day after it was taken, which I noticed while perusing Facebook (and I had just spent a ton of money to get her hair back to blonde two weeks before, which is her natural color). That was one of those moments where I found myself wishing she were grown-up already and responsible for her own money. Ouch.

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

I know from your writings that you had many experiences with journalism throughout your life, and I admire that you've gotten yourself back into writing the way you have over the last few years!

I really wanted my daughter to go into print journalism, because she's such a gifted writer. But now she announced the other day that she would like to do a double major of broadcast journalism and psychology...she is absolutely LOVING her psychology class, and would like to look into being a sports psychologist!

Well, you know how it goes as a parent...whatever she does, I just hope it makes her happy!

Take good care,

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I love that last picture!

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Amazinly combined colors in the cushions. Liked a lot...

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Learns new vocabulary quickly

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