I finally got around to looking at the vegetables we're growing. May was freaky busy, and I never found the time. But when I came home from work the other night, Dave was with the kids at the gym and I had a whole hour to myself. So I did something wild and crazy: I headed out to the backyard.
I didn't know what to expect. Maxsutawney Phil hasn't been spotted for a couple of weeks now, so he didn't seem like a particular menace, although the squirrels in our neighborhood are both numerous and aggressive, a bad combination. We'd never gotten around to getting the pepper spray or any of the other suggestions people had (sorry, Felicia). And watering? Not much. I was skeptical there'd be anything out there besides weeds.
But there they were: one green tomato and then, a ways down, a bunch of little red peppers, surrounded by weeds. I stooped down to look at them, amazed at their tenacity. Then I plopped down on the grass and hung out for a few minutes, enjoying the quietness and the fact that nobody was whining or fighting or demanding chocolate ice-cream.
I thought about the past week and how worried I'd been about Max and his cast, which had done him good (and which he had gotten very attached to). As I sat there, something occurred to me: Max is doing well not just because of what we do for him or his teachers or the therapists and medical pros in his life, but because it comes from Max.
This is something that's easy to forget when you're the parent of a kid with special needs. Some days, you feel as if all the responsibility rests on you to help your child, enable him, make him better. You forget that, like any kid, your child has it within himself to grow and thrive, no matter what the circumstances... just like those little peppers that could.
I headed back inside, feeling unusually calm. A few minutes later the kids came home whining and fighting and begging for chocolate ice-cream, of course.