There are few things more life-changing than watching your child experience a simple pleasure for the first time. Your perspective of life is forever altered as you see through your child’s eyes and experience the wonder you lost so many years ago.
I remember taking my son to the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia, when he was ten months old. It was his first time experiencing flowers, and he was mesmerized (see picture above). As with all little ones, he wanted to touch what he was seeing. I showed him how to touch the flowers gently, so he wouldn’t harm them.
We started among the tulips and stayed for quite some time as he crawled from one colorful bed to the next, reaching for the next tulip…and the next. His inquisitive eyes and radiant smile created a desire in me to touch the flowers myself. A tulip – a flower I’d seen dozens and dozens of times – became something new to me. The waxy petals, cool against my fingers, created a distinct memory as I experienced that new joy of parenting – a child’s “first.”
Over the years, as my son grew, I experienced that joy over and over again, reliving many “firsts” through him. Yet, even now that he’s grown and off on his own, I find that I can still tap into that wonder, especially in my garden. I am enthralled by a seed bursting through the ground, sprouting leaves that instinctively reach for the sun. I am awed by the enormity of a corn stalk when compared to the size of the seed I planted. I marvel at the strength of a cucumber vine on a trellis as it bears fruit hundreds of times its weight.
And because of my son, I still love to touch flowers. Last year, I grew Amish Cockscomb for the first time. As they matured, the velvety spires formed a tactile orb that drew my hand to touch it every day.
In my garden, I am often like my young son was – awestruck by the simple beauty of God’s creation. As I tend my plants day to day, I don’t feel like it’s a duty or a chore as long as I hold onto that child’s fascination.