“Mommy! We worked outside half the morning, and I learned how to fertilize, and then I helped him repot some of Mrs. Boon’s house plants. It’s really neat to repot a plant because you have to mix up some crunched up styrofoam like stuff with the dirt and then you have to measure, or guess, how much room the plant will take up and if you guess wrong, you have to take some out or add some more in. After Major Boon showed me what to do, I was better at getting the plant to fit in the new pot than he was, so I got to finish the rest of the house plants all by myself!”
Little by little,week by week, Major Boon showed my excited Sharon everything about taking care of a house and a yard that a father would have. Not only did I not have a house to tinker on and a yard to putter in, I lacked the knowledge of what to do, as well. God had so very, very faithfully provided yet again!
Besides the initiative of having a part-time job, another indicator of Sharon’s approaching adolescent independence was her consistent and spontaneous initiative in pursuing her own personal interests. Not long after she began helping Major Boon with odd jobs, she spent two hours one Sunday afternoon sprawled on the floor, with an advertisement from the Sunday supplement of the newspaper. She planned which flower seeds and what bulbs to order for the 12 dollars she had saved. Two weeks later, the seeds and bulbs arrived.
“Come on, Mom. You can watch while I plant the seeds and bulbs.”
“Wait a minute, let me get my cup of coffee.”
For the next hour, I sat on the stoop and listened to my child teach me some basics about plants.
“Now, the first thing you do is pull the weeds and break up the soil. I did that last week, remember, so all I have to do now is just turn it over a little.”
I was careful to ask good questions and to smile only when she wasn’t looking. She sounded so much like a parent teaching a child. I imagined she was using many of the very words Major Boon had used in explaining the care and nurture of plants to her.
“You want to find a good big stick, or use the edge of the hoe, like this, to make a furrow for the little seeds. . . and then you drop them in, like this. . . and put some dirt on top. . . and pat it down, but not too hard because. . .
All that summer and well into the fall the few square feet of earth in front of our apartment door and patio fence bore green and blooming evidence of the rightness of her selection and the gardening skill she had learned from my boss on all those Saturdays. Tall, slender gladiolas grew between the shrubs lining our portion of the sidewalk, pink and white impatiens flourished on both sides of the stoop, and petunias nodded their graceful heads all in a row along the edge of the patio. My daughter was blooming as beautifully as those flowers – and just as fast!