As April is slipping away, the sunnier days of May are springing forward and I fondly remember all the seasons of planting with little Mikey, medium sized Mikey, and big Mikey. Mikey loved growing things. He loved all things connected to the earth. Perhaps he knew on some level that he would have little time to enjoy the earthly things, so he dug into them with zest. Sometimes he dug into them with my good silverware, and sometimes just with his little grubby hands. I had a dream shortly after Mikey died which seemed to be more of a “visit” than a dream. Mikey was standing in the kitchen giggling and I opened up the drawer he was standing in front of. It was overflowing with all the numerous spoons he had lost outside while digging over the years, and he burst out laughing and said, “I brought back all your silverware that I lost.”
Tomatoes were Mikey’s favorite things to plant, as well as experiment with. He tried in vain to cross breed a tomato with a watermelon; always hoping to get a melon sized version of his favorite tart tomato. Mikey also liked Rainbow tomatoes, because of their varying hues.
Catering to his olfactory senses as well as his taste buds, Mikey inherited my love of spices. We always made our yearly trip to our favorite nursery to load up on the many variations of herbs and spices, with careful selection based on smell. Orange mint, pineapple mint, lemon verbena, every version of oregano and basil, and some token catnip for the kitties. Mikey tenderly watched and watered and snipped and savored each and every plant until it thrived to harvest time.
I always had to grab a few baskets of flowers to brighten up our porch after the Colorado winter, and Mikey enjoyed the scents of them, too. He was frustrated that tulips did not have much of a smell, as giant red tulips were his favorite flower visually.
Gardening is something all children love to participate in. Growing things magically out of a seed is fascinating for young and old alike. I am excitedly looking forward to becoming a grandma this summer. Susie and Vince are expecting their first child shortly before Mikey’s birthday, and I can’t wait for the day when I can take my grandchild to Mikey’s favorite nursery to pick out her own favorite plants. Will she enjoy digging in the dirt as much as her uncle did? Who knows? The sight of a small child stopping to smell the roses or watch the butterfly or pinch the ladybug is worth a thousand beautiful words, and grandma will be right here to type them.