As we slowly liquidate the sprouted seedlings in the basement, moving them into larger pots, and then into the neighbor’s borrowed greenhouse across the street, I feel spread thinner and thinner. This is the happiest time of the year, it is the busiest time of the year, but it is the most painful time of the year too when my chronic illness and immune system just fall apart. Some part of me says that I am far from the only one using gardening and its many pleasures to alleviate the effects of chronic pain and, just generally, the blues that come with all of this baggage.
Garden therapy is probably the most important job I perform, though now, therapeutic foster care is probably becoming more important. Of course one always hopes that their own children will help them out in the garden, but we all know that it’s a lot to ask of a brief visitor in your home with their own troubles and issues. When I started a few months back, I was worried that the kids might hurt some of my plants, but that is far from true. The plants are either ignored, or the blooms are lightly pawed and stared at for rather long periods of time. Crafts for the garden have been far more popular, in general, or anything craft-like. Many of the girls have also loved flower fairies while some boys have actually liked flowers and the complicated process of how things grow.
As things grow, I will return to bartering some plants on craigslist for weeding to alleviate some of my physical stress from the hereditary angioedema. This is a strange lesson for the kiddos to learn, but it is one that they seem to understand far more than I’d thought since many of them already have needed the rules bent for themselves in some way. Needing to enter what I prefer to call an early retirement used to feel pretty horrible when it meant that I had to say NO to many of the career choices I had opening up to me. Now, there is the ability to teach again and to help them with things few adults know how to do for themselves when their own lives fall apart midstream. To live on the fringes, making a life for yourself with dignity and the ability to take pride in your own self-care and the activities you love is not such a horrible thing. I am just so happy that I am able to be a homeowner, with the ability to do the things that I am doing now, with these amazing kids.