I am an obsessive gardener – even tucking out a dry leaf or watering the plants or digging up mud and dirtying myself in it makes me happy. I am also a parent by choice. Ever since I have had my daughter, there has been a constant tug of war inside me, for time and energy – a pull towards my little balcony garden and a push towards my child’s needs that I committed myself to.
Given that both need to be NURTURED with LOVE, the balancing act turned out easier over time.
1. MILESTONES are for US and NOT for THEM. Once a parent, we get too busy chasing developmental milestones of our baby and fret over it if they are late compared to contemporary kids.
In a similar tone, I have seen many enthusiasts ask the plant nursery owner even before buying “Will this bloom? By when?”, “Does this get infected easily by worms?”. It is like someone asking us - “Will you be healthy next year around this time?” or, “will you learn three new things in next six months?”!!
We forget that we are dealing with life – If we can’t predict our own health in future, how can we do so for babies or saplings? They are shaped up by the environment, by people around them and most importantly the way they are nurtured.
These milestones are best left to Nature. As the nurturer/ parent, I am sure we get signals early on if there’s a problem.
2. PATIENCE is the biggest VIRTUE. Every parent might have spent hours in feeding a toddler or in putting an infant to sleep, or trying to teach them.
Similarly, I have spent months or, a couple of years watching my sapling grow before it blooms or, fruits. Even a creeper that readily grows in even adverse conditions, didn’t take to my wall before two years.
Many a times, when I was about to just give up hope, that little bud popped out or a seed sprouted into a sapling or, my little daughter responded to my physical commands (even when she couldn’t speak) and acknowledged with a smile. I then said to myself “I am not sure if I deserve this victory but I should have not lost my patience so easily…” Heavenly bliss it is!
3. INNOCENCE makes them BEAUTIFUL. Plants potted in soil are the meekest and passive living beings that one can come across. The pots can be moved around, watered more or less without understanding their needs, they may have space or sunlight lesser than they need, but they NEVER COMPLAIN. Even if the leaves wilt, the day you water them they bounce back to life only showing gratitude that you realized their need/ pain. That is why every time I look at the patch of green in my balcony, the peace and beauty they lend far outweighs the trouble I take for them.
We must be grateful for the fact that right from the way they are born to the school they are put in, they are completely at our mercy. There are umpteen moments in a day when little ‘I’ bears pain or discomfort because of the people handling her (particularly me) and expresses either meekly or nothing at all. The moment she is relieved of that pain (just in case we manage to identify the root cause), comes her spontaneous and magical smile. Simply makes my day!
4. HARD WORK BRINGS JOY. Nothing comes free in this world, especially things that are beautiful. Parenting is absolute bliss but not without the mess of a toddler that a parent must clean up or, those school projects that the parent must complete or the lunch box for school that must be prepared whether the child eats it or not. Yet there’s no one on the planet who understands YOU better than your OWN child, there’s no one else who will FORGIVE you with a clean heart even if you have hurt them.
I love dirtying myself in soil and cow dung manure because I know the bounty that it will yield the plants in the next few weeks. If I don’t find time to clip off that old shoot hanging out from the windowsill or, the balcony grills, they are in my thoughts till I clean them up. The live ones share their gratitude with new green foliage quickly taking over that space.
5. LIFE LIKES SUNSHINE AND HAPPINESS. My little one always has her foot outside home even when she couldn’t walk. She always wants to be under the sky…with people, with life and even with my plants in our balcony. The walls mean boundaries to her zest.
Plants love sunshine not just for photosynthesis but for the limitless energy that it gives them. Even in an open balcony, one can see that a shoot will sneak out through the grills and grow disproportionately in the direction of sun rays coming in. Botanists call it ‘Phototropism’, I call it ‘Happiness-tropism’!
Nurturing is joy!
PS: The little girl in the image is the author's daughter enjoying her breakfast in the backdrop of her balcony garden.
The pictures in this article are original and belong to the author. Reproducing them in any form without the permission of the author will not be allowed.