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Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Lesson I Learned From A Carrot

I was six months pregnant with my fourth child when the counselor planted a garden in our backyard. Planting a garden in Mesa Arizona is like water skiing in Antarctica; stupid and difficult, but possible. I sat in the shade and watched as he turned the soil; adding the mulch and planting the seeds. The weather had finally cooled enough to start growing cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, beets, and carrots. The counselor doesn’t have a green thumb, but he enjoys gardening and I enjoy watching him work. Within weeks small plants began to sprout, but unfortunately so did the weeds.

With six weeks left in my pregnancy, I started into labor. My doctor put me on medication and warned me to stay off my feet. I spent most of my time resting on the couch in the living room. I read and played with Mayer while Chandler and Payson were at school. From the window I could see the garden. The weeds were pretty impressive; macho weeds on steroids.

Reef was born 10 days early, healthy and strong.

Like before, I spent my time on the couch, now nursing a newborn. One day the counselor came in from the backyard with something cradled in his hand. He handed me a carrot so tiny it was hardly recognizable. I smiled and nibbled on it for a split second before it was gone. I was proud of the counselor's accomplishment and wished he had more to show for his hard work. I looked out the window and saw the weeds towering over the carrot stalks. It was a pitiful sight.

A few days later a neighbor brought over a homemade chicken pot pie, full of carrots and peas. The crust and gravy was rich and creamy, two of my favorite things. The meal was like a back rub from the counselor — good and warm. It fed our family for days.

The boys and I returned her pan the following week. I thanked her for the delicious meal.

My neighbor asked, “Did you like the carrots?”

The boys agreed. The carrots were wonderful.

“For years I’ve planted a garden and this year my carrots finally grew in. I picked them to put in your dinner.”

I was shocked. Carrots? Garden? Was it possible? She grew carrots only to give them away to me?

I remembered our garden at home and the little carrots that lost their souls to the big, bad weeds. My neighbor brought the very best she had to offer. She shared her carrots with us.

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