Do these beans mean anything to you?
They mean something to me. These are “welcome to the world” beans that will be part of a meal we are taking to my brother Pat and sister-in-law Stephanie. They are getting said meal so they don’t have to think about cooking as much on account of having their hands newly full with a brand new baby–Edie Olivia!
Let me tell you, she is a ridiculously sweet bundle of cuteness that I can’t wait to get to know as she grows up. Little Edie’s dad (aforementioned brother) started the purple beans in the picture above from seeds that he saved from our dad’s 2014 crop of purple beans, and gave me several plants that are now producing like crazy on the backyard bean tepee.
Multiple members of Edie’s family took care of these little plants, and they will now indirectly nourish her. Maybe I’m over-sentimentalizing the growing of food, but this feels meaningful for me.
When my lovely wife, Anna gave birth to our babies, so many people stepped in to make sure we had enough to eat in our sleep-deprived state. They couldn’t necessarily take our burden away, but they could and did demonstrate their love for us by keeping us fed when we were exhausted beyond words.
Admittedly, I take great pride in my small garden’s ability to put food on the table for those that I love. Not through any great skill of mine, of course, as I am a mediocre gardener who just happens to enjoy it a great deal.
For me, my garden is the physical manifestation of a love of family. So to be able to do this small thing tonight for this very new, very loved already, family member and her proud parents allows me to participate a little bit in welcoming her to the world. Letting her know that she is loved beyond measure already by so many people.
At its best, it involves time spent with those I care about coupled with the joy that others can take pleasure from eating something tasty that I’ve grown. Digging in the dirt also gives the satisfaction that I am among a long line, or more correctly, a thread in a large tapestry, of gardeners in my family.
I think of eating homegrown raspberries at my maternal grandparents’ home. A spaghetti squash almost as big as me in my paternal grandparents’ backyard. And summer after summer helping my dad in our own backyard and the “big garden” downtown. And now, a new generation of gardeners is joining our ranks.
Given my xy chromosomes, I don’t know what it is like to be a mother. But I am a dad (again, you get at least mediocre with me) and I have an inkling of what my brother is in for. Not exactly, of course. But I can’t help but smile as he too joins the ranks of dad gardeners. Welcome to the club, Brother. I am so, so happy for you. Congrats to you and Stephanie, and welcome Sweet Edie!
So yeah, beans. They mean something to me.