My niece Lydia is quite the amazing little girl. She’s 10, and obsessed with things like Chip and Joanna Gaines, and believe it or not, gardening, at least this summer.
She has the cutest little garden in the far corner of her family’s backyard. She grew tiny amounts of peas, zucchini, broccoli, strawberries and flowers. She did a great job, needless to say I am soooooo proud of her efforts.
In June, she began regularly commandeering my sister’s cell phone, usually later in the evening and sending me photos of her veggies and plants. She would ask me cryptic questions like, “What do carrots look like when they pop up?” and “Look what I grew.”
Pride burst forth from this Auntie Joy. I mean, Auntie DangerGirl, LOL.
As I continued to work on my own garden, I noticed that there were four rogue pumpkins coming up willy nilly in my corn patch.
If you missed the rogue pumpkin post, I am happy to let you know that if you smash your rotten pumpkins in the garden (as compost) after Halloween, seeds will inevitably be spilled, and once spilled will be impossible to pick up in the Spring. Rogue pumpkins will grow wherever they wish.
While last summer (2017), I was pleased with the rogue Jacks, this summer was purely an Atlantic Giant effort, those rogues had to go.
I murdered three of them before I had a brilliant idea.
I would dig up the sole remaining Jack O’Lantern start, and donate it to Lydia’s garden. She hadn’t planted any pumpkins and I was sure that she would love to grow her own.
The digging went easily enough, and I wrapped the large pile of dirt/roots and tiny baby pumpkin plant in burlap.
The transfer to Lydia was quite another story. Our paternal grandfather (her great grandfather obviously) unfortunately passed away this summer and on the day of his funeral, the great pumpkin exchange took place.
That poor little pumpkin plant hung around in the back seat of my Jeep all day long. While it certainly had enough water, it did not enjoy the heat or lack of fresh air and was quite wilted before I turned it over to the Pineda family vehicle.
I urged Lydia to plant it as soon as she got home.
Alas, it did not get planted until the next day.
I was on pins and needles asking about it. The leaves had died off, leaving it just a stem. It was probably just Lydia’s faith and careful stalking with the watering can that kept it alive in the end.
I hoped against all hope (as did she I sure) that not only the tiny plant would live, but that it would give her a pumpkin she could say that she grew on her own.
That little pumpkin did live, and in the end did some thriving. In late July I received one of those late night texts from Patty’s phone, with this picture attached.
It was followed by a text:
“If my pumpkin gets big enough to go to the fair, will you go with me?”
Before you even think to ask, I told her that of course I would, and asked the question back to her.
Hooray! It had worked! Lydia was going to get her own pumpkin! Even though there was only the one fruit bearing flower, the odds had been beaten!
A week or so ago I started wondering how that pumpkin was doing, I hadn’t heard anything or seen anymore pictures.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to see for myself. Patty hosted our Mom’s birthday brunch and no sooner than I stepped foot into the house Lydia was leading me into the garden.
There were beautiful Snapdragons, tall, proud and straight. There were carrots that grew so fat that they were crowding each other. There was broccoli gone wild in hopes of rogue broccoli next summer, and smack dab in the middle of it all, was that tiny pumpkin plant.
Or what I thought was her pumpkin plant. She urged me to part the leaves to take a look, which I totally excitedly did, and we were both ten years old at that moment.
But what I saw took my breath away and slammed me right back into my 43 year old body.
Lydia’s Pumpkin……… was a Danish Squash.
I had to tell her immediately and I was sure I was breaking her little heart.
With tears in my eyes and heartbreak in my own voice, I explained that I had made a mistake when I thought it was a rogue pumpkin and that pumpkin and squash plants look very much the same.
If that had happened in my own garden I would have been in tears.
Do you know what her response was?
“Well can I carve it?”
You sure can Lydia. You sure can.
This cute story has a beautiful opportunity for us all to learn a little something.
I really thought I was letting Lydia down, and I’m sure I did. But instead of being angry at me for making a mistake, she looked on the bright side and hoped that she could carve the squash. I really hope she does.
In reality, she was just so very proud that she saved that plant and made it grow into something, even if it wasn’t what she thought she was growing.
I’m even more proud of her after that little moment we shared. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was mad at me for giving her a squash instead of a pumpkin. I’m sure her family heard about it after I left that afternoon, but she has many gardens to go in her life, and many pumpkins to grow.
Get what I’m getting at? Sometimes the things we work at so very hard, turn into something that is completely the opposite of what we wanted. Disappointment is a very big part of life.
But there is always, always an opportunity to spin that wheel and choose to make the best of the surprise outcome.
So next time a scenario like this one presents itself to you, choose to be like Lydia. Find a bright spot and revel in your accomplishment in another way all together, make it work.
Your life will be better for it.
Thanks for the lesson Lydie-Lu. 🙂