Last Sunday Grace surprised me with a much-needed, practical gift for Mother’s Day – a garden hat! Now Grace typically will buy or make me something every year for Mother’s Day, but this particular gift truly touched me.
I spend a lot of time in the spring and throughout the summer and fall working in the garden. Most of this time is spent alone and usually I try to do the work when no one else is around. I like the solitude, but also I don’t want the gardening to take away from my time with the family.
Gardening is “my” thing. I hate to ask for help or assign chores in the garden because this is something I wanted — not Hubby, not the kids, just me. They do reap the rewards from the garden, but still, they would probably be just as happy if I were to buy what I grow at the Farmer’s Market. Because of this, I try to keep my gardening to myself.
On occasion I am forced to recruit a bit of help. Perhaps there are bags of mulch that I just can’t lift or maybe I need help spreading a tarp to cover seedlings, and then the troops will come to my aid. Other than when absolutely necessary though, the family is kept in the dark about how much time and effort goes into the garden — or so I thought.
For all the gardening I do and all the time I spend out in the garden, I have to plan my time out there very carefully. Being allergic to the sun, intolerant of the heat, and a sufferer of sinus issues there are only certain times of the day I can work in the various areas the gardens are set up in.
Mornings have to be spent on the west side of the house in the tomato gardens where the sun stays hidden behind the house until about noon. Early afternoon can be spent on the patio when the sun slips behind the house and I can work on the potter’s bench and with the plants in pots outlining the patio. Late afternoon the sun slips behind the house and the east side is shaded so I can work where the cucumbers, peppers, peas, and spinach are planted.
The one area though that has sun all day is the main garden at the back of the yard. Unless I get out there before 6:30 in the morning, which can be done but typically isn’t, I am forced to work in the sun. In order to do this, no matter the temperature outside, I wear long pants, long sleeves, and dark sunglasses. Still, with all this covering, my neck and face still get sunburned and I end up feeling sick after only 30 or so minutes out there.
I’ve tried wearing hats while working, but they either blow off or just shade my forehead a bit. They were more cumbersome and tedious than they were worth.
Mother’s Day morning Grace ran down the stairs with a bag in hand, excited for me to open my present from her first. I couldn’t image what she’d gotten me in such a large bag. When I tore through the paper I found a wonderful new garden hat.
This hat has everything a gardener could want. It is big so it will cover not only my head but will shade my entire face and neck. It is floppy so the rim can be brought down even farther to shade my eyes in the brightest sun. It is light and airy so my head doesn’t get hot and sweaty. And best of all, it has a strap! No blowing off in the wind for this baby!
I couldn’t believe it. For all the effort I put into keeping my gardening to myself so it doesn’t intrude on the family or become a thorn in their side, Grace still managed to see I was struggling to work in the back garden without getting sick. She saw that gardening was something important to me and not something I would let a little sun poisoning or heat stroke stop me from doing, and found the one thing that would help make it possible for me to work even on the sunniest of days.
It amazes me what a difference something as simple as a hat can make — and I’m not talking gardening here. I know my family loves me and appreciates what I do, but it’s thoughtful little things they do to remind me they are paying attention to what I do that touches my heart. Grace showed me with her gift that she truly KNOWS me and UNDERSTANDS what is important to me. I’m not just the person responsible for making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning house, walking the dog, or being here for the families beckon and call. She sees what I do, even when I try to keep it from her, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.