Sunday, September 11, 2011

Growing with Johnny and Jack

Just above this text, you can see the image of my incredibly good-looking husband reading up on the finer points of vegetable gardening while simultaneously engaging in said gardening.
I love this for several reasons.
One: I love the way he studies up on every single thing he wants to do. It's one of those endearing qualities that would never make it on your junior high "what I want in a guy" list, but is now firmly on my "reasons I am madly in love with my husband" list. I think it has something to do with the fact that I rarely do the proper amount of preparation needed for my various endeavors. Now that we do lots of things together it means that I have someone to take care of me when the unforeseen surprises I would have foreseen had I learned anything about the thing I'm doing, are expected and subsequently dealt with by my studious lifemate. He takes care of me. He is very well-read on many things.
Two: We have a shamefully tiny back deck in our one-bedroom apartment in Bothell--a deck I have for a long time considered useless and annoying. Last summer it reached the height of uselessness when a family of wasps built a nest in the the awning. There was no point trying to reclaim the territory from the hive, as it was clear that they were able to derive far more purpose from the space than we were. Plus I was afraid of getting stung. Winter took care of the problem, anyway, and wasps don't nest in the same space twice, so we are luckily wasp free this season. But Johnny has not given up on or sad little deck. He's found a way to store the bikes we never use back there. Now he's going to utilize the once-infested awning by hanging starter planters filled with the seeds of various vegetables that should hopefully make it into a salad or two in the coming months. I love the way he is dissatisfied with the status quo. While I would be content to burn it and let it fall off the side of the building simply out of disgust for how puny and ridiculous it is--he is building it up. He does the same thing with me during particularly difficult bouts of low self esteem and anxiety.
Three: I just love having a handyman around. Here he is with his power-tools placing the hooks for the planters:

How does he know how to do stuff, and what exactly to do in the first place? This wasn't in the gardening book. He did have a job remodeling houses for a short time, where he got to try his hand at several different household fixer-uppers. He's also been dutifully instructed by his very handy father in various manly household tasks such as: building a fence, moving dirt, tinkering with cars, and other such manly enterprises. Growing up at Grandma's house, with my mom and two sisters, household challenges were the responsibility of the women folk--cause we were all women folk. While this was at times incredibly empowering (my mom built our swing sets, weed-wacked the garden, put up an above ground pool after leveling the lower area in the back yard, etc.), testing the limits of what we could accomplish on our own--every once in a while a limit was met for whatever reason. Luckily we had an incredibly helpful neighbor dad who would pick up for us wherever we left off in a particularly trying project. This often made me feel a lack in our household. Jennifer, the neighbor girl, had a strong figure to look up to that could seemingly take on the world--and we were always pushing the extremes of our skills. As a very anxious individual, I can say there is a difference between going into a situation and just seeing if it could be handled, vs. going in with the security of knowing we could triumph. That's the way Johnny makes me feel now. Now, I'm not saying you need a dude to take care of your stuff, I'm just saying that having that person who makes you feel taken care of, whoever they are, is an incredibly valuable relationship. One that I am so grateful to have.
And (finally) four: For the last six months I have been devouring book after book about growing my baby. I've been attempting to provide appropriate nutrients and environment for little Jack. I've been excited and astonished by the stages of his growth (and mine). This endeavor on our back deck looks suspiciously to me like Johnny's iteration of this same experience. I know it's on a smaller scale, but it feels so symbolic to me. I don't know if John is subconsciously attempting to share in the process of growing a new life in his own special way--more likely it's just that he finally got around to doing something that he's been meaning to do for a while. Mostly, I just think it's sweet. We've got four months left to wait before we meet Jack face to face. While I'll be doing my best to keep him strong and healthy, and to prepare our home for his arrival, Johnny will be doing the same with his little hanging garden. We're gonna be parents soon, and we're learning how to be responsible for things right now. Yes, it makes me tear up a bit-but let's be honest, what doesn't lately?

The finished product