How I Started a New “Green” Family Tradition
When a holiday comes along there’s generally a scripted set of traditions that we all tend to follow.
At Christmas, most of us take our kids to see Santa at a store and put up a tree. At Halloween, we dress up and go door-to-door in search of candy. At Easter, we hide eggs full of cash and candy and send our little ones searching.
And while I love all of these things, as a mom, I also want to come up with some family traditions of our own – especially ones that don’t necessarily involve copious amounts of money and sweets.
So it was that last Easter, after having moved into my first real house in Seattle (I’d lived in apartments in New York for all of my adult life), I was faced with an actual yard, albeit a small one.
I knew squat about gardening and I wasn’t ready to tackle an entire landscaping project. But I still yearned for a little color against the green grass. When I told my mom about my quandary, she instantly suggested I plant some pansies with my then five-year-old daughter. They were inexpensive, colorful, easy to plant and easy to care for she said. Just dead-head them every week or so and water.
So off we went to our local Home Depot to buy some. Sure enough, my daughter loved them, and rather than try to stick to a color scheme, I let her pick out as many different colored pansies as she wanted to line a row in our back yard. We came back with about a dozen or so purple, yellow, orange and white happy faced little flowers and went to work digging tiny holes for them on Easter morning.
It was a beautiful day and my daughter and I got our hands dirty, observed the earthworms (signs of healthy soil I told her), and felt the sun beam warmly down on us. In about a half hour, the pretty pansies were planted and we both felt proud of our first foray into gardening.
Sure enough, the pansies were as hardy as my mom said. Every week or two we did a little weeding around them, popped off the dead flowers so new buds could grow and watered them. All spring and summer we enjoyed their bright blooms.
This weekend, we’ll head back out to the store and pick out more pansies to plant on Easter morning. My daughter is already excited about it, and I love that we can share this appreciation for growing things, for being immersed together in the natural world. It’s baby steps as far as gardening goes, but you need to start somewhere, right?
And I love that we’ve created a simple but meaningful holiday custom. That said, we’ll still be munching on a chocolate bunny on Easter, too. . .
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