Growing in the Garden

“Growing in the Garden,” Friend, June 2012, 22–23

Growing in the Garden

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matthew 7:12).

Yard work—on the last day of vacation?

Matt, Joey, Isaac, and Liza had spent a whole week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with their parents. They had played at the park, visited the river, and seen the last patches of snow melting in the mountains. They also went to a children’s museum, read books at the library, and watched a funny movie. It had been a good trip.

“Are we leaving tomorrow?” Liza asked on the last night of their vacation.

“Yes,” Mom said. “But we don’t have to leave until after lunch. Maybe we can do something fun together in the morning.”

“Shopping?” Matt asked. He was hoping to search the second-hand store for treasures.

“I have a different idea,” Mom said. She pointed out the window at the garden. Spring was almost over, but most of the things growing in the garden were weeds. Last year’s grapevines draped over a fence. One fuzzy, pale green plant had started an army of little shoots just like itself. Matt remembered that plant—lamb’s ear. He helped Grandpa choose it a few years ago.

“Don’t you think we’d have fun helping Grandma and Grandpa get their garden ready for summer?” Mom asked. Nobody said a word. “Think about all the nice things Grandma and Grandpa have done for you. Wouldn’t you like to do something kind for them? I know you’re all good workers, and they’d be thankful for your help.”

Matt didn’t think working sounded like fun, but he did want to help his grandparents.

After breakfast the next day, Grandpa gave each person a job. Mom used big clippers to trim the grapevines. Liza pulled weeds, Isaac lined up smooth stones around the edges of a new flowerbed, Joey carried weeds and grapevine trimmings to a compost pile, and Matt helped Grandpa and Dad dig up the little lamb’s ear plants so they could be planted in new places in the garden.

Soon the sun was high in the sky. “I think we’ve put in a good morning’s work,” Grandpa said.

The garden looked much different than it had earlier that morning. Matt was amazed they had done so much work.

“Everybody, go clean up for lunch,” Mom said. “After we eat it will be time to go home.”

After lunch, Mom and Dad buckled the children into the car. Grandma and Grandpa came out to say good-bye.

“Thank you for all your hard work,” Grandma said. “It would have taken us a lot longer to do it all by ourselves.”

Grandpa leaned into the car and handed Matt a big, sealed plastic bag. When Matt looked closely, he realized it was one of the small lamb’s ear plants surrounded by dirt.

“Remember when you chose that plant, Matt?” Grandpa asked. “I thought you’d like to have one for your own garden.”

Matt looked at Mom. “Can we put it in our flowerbed in the front yard?” he asked.

“Sure, Matt. Then you’ll see it every day,” Mom said.

“Awesome,” Matt said. “And every time I see it, I’ll remember working in Grandma and Grandpa’s garden.”

Illustration by Jared Beckstrand