When I was in my 20s, I asked my Maw-Maw to complete a “Grandmother Remembers” book for me. It was one of those books that even I wouldn’t like to fill out, asking a number of personal questions that only a sweet person like my grandmother would oblige in answering (well, she did leave a FEW blank). She passed away five years ago, and I’m so glad to have her thoughts on paper. One particular question and answer stood out to me at the time she returned the book:
At the time, I thought, “That’s it?! How… quaint.” Surely, secretly, she wanted a career, to be an artist, to write, to travel!
What did I do after reading these pearls of wisdom? I divorced and left a nice job as a high school biology teacher. I earned a Ph.D, contributed to publications in some top flight journals like Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (mostly due to my brilliant supervising professor’s influence). I traveled around the world, both personally and professionally. I found a great gig teaching at a medical school.
And now? I’ll soon hit forty, I’m married to an incredible man, I have two children under 5 years old, and… I GET IT, MAW-MAW! It took me a little while, but I get it. What is my ambition? To be a good wife, Mother, and Homemaker. Everything “about me” now is really just second to that.
So, my grandmother’s legacy has come full circle, and I’ve realized that the things I want most in life are the very same things that she wanted (and achieved!). Part of fulfilling that ambition entails providing tasty and healthy food for my family. Luckily for me, I have always just LOVED to be in a garden.
But admittedly, my gardening efforts have really exploded over the past few years! A few summers ago, we weighed the produce coming from our 40 x 60 ft plot: we were just shy of a TON. And that was just the summer’s production. And that doesn’t count what we forgot to weigh, or what we ate in the garden while picking.
Why do I garden so intensively now? In part, it’s driven by my desire to protect my family’s health (more on this in my page, “Gardening and Food Allergies“).
But even more so now, I think, because I have become a mother.
I didn’t even realize it until my friend, Joyce, a fellow blogger who writes Friends Drift Inn, visited me over the summer. Kentucky Educational Television was filming her for a Kentucky Life segment, and she had brought them to our “urban garden.”
Joyce was admiring a very large blue hubbard that I had grown. She said,
“You know, what is it about growing such LARGE vegetables. Doesn’t it make you feel so… MATERNAL?” (As she pantomimed a pregnant belly and exploded into her trademark giggles).
It clicked. It seems that my URGE to garden has certainly coincided with motherhood! Parenting is so similar to gardening, after all: Helping a new life get a start. Watching it grow. Seeing it blossom. Preserving a genetic and cultural heritage. Working together.
I love to garden because I love to mother (or is that the other way around)?
Thus, “Mother of a Hubbard” was born.
I hope you enjoy it!