Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Normally when I say “we” worked in the yard this weekend, I mean, my husband, Zeb, worked in the yard while I sat in the shade and nodded my agreement at any questions he asked. This past weekend, for some reason, I couldn’t help but get my hands dirty. After yoga and a quick trip to the store on Saturday I came home with a carload of gardening supplies, a few bales of pine straw for mulching, rosemary, cilantro and basil — for planting and eating, impatience, ferns and sweet potato vines for my front porch.
Drawn by the strange site of their mother, elbow deep in dirt, my children flocked to my side in amazement.
“Momma, what are you doing?” Emma, my 6-year-old asked.
“Planting herbs to cook with,” I explained. “Close your eyes and smell this then tell me what it reminds you of.” I held the sweet basil up to her nose and she inhaled.
“Pizza,” she yelled.
Aubrey, Sadie and our honorary O’Bryant, Elizabeth, all sniffed and agreed — basil smells like pizza, rosemary smells like chicken, and cilantro smells like soap.
Sadie, my 4-year-old, helped me plant zinnia seeds along the fence in our backyard. We knelt on the dirt and I handed her the seeds one by one. I hope I never forget the way her fat little finger looked — fingernail bit down to the quick, dirt covering her hands, as she carefully poked each seed into the ground and asked, “Like dis, Momma?”
“Yep, just like that.”
In the late afternoon Sadie and I stole a quilt from the house and carried it to the shade of the barn in our backyard. I was hoping she might fall asleep after an action-packed weekend. Instead we ended up playing I-Spy where she beat me fair and square. Sadie decided she needed a snack and as she walked to the house I stretched out on the quilt. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath of the cool breeze blowing off the river. I marveled in the perfect weather and the split second of time that is springtime in Mississippi before the mosquitos start swarming.
I was still stretched out with my eyes closed when Sadie came back. Before I could roll over and open my eyes she whispered loudly, “Shhhhh. Momma’s sweepin.” She folded the edge of the blanket over my legs, kissed my sweaty forehead and patted my grimy hands. “Shhhh. No Moses,” she scolded our dog. “Momma’s asweep.”
I wondered how long she’d let me lay there and before I even finished the thought she was tapping me on the forehead, “Hey, will you open dis? It’s twicky,” she asked, passing me her granola bar.
That evening, once everyone was scrubbed clean and tucked in their beds, I realized why my husband isn’t capable of keeping his eyes open once his head hits the pillow. The best planting I did all day is when I planted my butt in my own bed and fell asleep, a little sunkissed and tired in the best way possible.
Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.