She was munching on a pea pod I’d plucked from the plant in front of her, her fine blonde hair escaping from the ball cap she insists on wearing backwards, rendering it completely useless for protecting her rosy cheeks from the 80 degree day.
Before she finishes her first garden treat, she’s reaching out her hands, mouth full, mumbling “more.” I pick her two, one for each hand. Pleased, she struts across the garden in her cowboy boots and shorts, trampling over my onions on her way to see if she might get the chance to pull up an entire bean plant before her momma tells her “no!”
We’d been in the garden together for approximately 10 minutes and this is about the way it goes — a series of “come heres,” “no, no, nos” and “stop walking on my peppers!” as if a toddler understands any more about the concept of a garden than the cool touch of the dirt and the crunch of that pea pod she’s started asking for by name while she points out the window toward the yard.
I was removing the grip of her chubby fingers from the leaves of that plant when I looked up to find my husband and dad, back from the hay field, apparently taking a moment to see how this scene was going to turn out, a pregnant momma trying to save her garden from Toddlerzilla.
I put my hand up to shield my eyes and hollered, “hello” as they made their way over to take a seat on the grass in front of us, smelling like diesel exhaust and sweat. Edie squealed “Papa” and ran toward them.
They sat there together for a bit, commenting on the cool breeze, feeding Edie more peas while I pulled up radishes and weeds and that was that, just another moment in a series of moments on the ranch.
“I went home that night and I was choked up about it,” Dad said the other night as we were driving home from a performance. “I saw you out there with her and it just reminded me of that song you wrote…”
I dreamed you high up on his shoulders, on a horse, riding along. I dreamed you digging in the garden and I wrote you in a song…
And I thought, oh, of course. That song I wrote all those years ago, dreaming up that very moment, which seemed so out of reach at the time. I only sang it alone in my house and cried through multiple takes in the studio where I recorded it weeks after losing my fourth or fifth pregnancy … I lose count.
And then there we were, together in the middle of that scene, sweating in the hot sun and getting the chance to take it all for granted.
But leave it to Papa to say, “Well, look at you now! Who would have thought?”
Yes. Look at us now.
Because in this life we’re all made for something, holding tight and letting go. And some things, they are certain, and some things we’ll never know…
List to full length version of “For You Child” from my 2012 album, “Nothing’s Forever” available for purchase at www.jessieveedermusic.com