Happy Father’s Day to My Constant Gardener

Man saving woman in garden

I am the gardener in our family. I love the process of transplanting, weeding, giving life to seedlings, watering, and pruning long after my masterpieces have faded.

Rejuvenating my dormant plants and encouraging new growth and flowering, is more creative and peaceful than anything I know.

As a gardener, I know that the best starting point for any living thing is to remove dead, diseased, or damaged stems as soon as I see them. Because any gardener knows that dead stems attract insects and invite diseases to develop.

And I have gardened enough over the years to know that relocating a plant hidden and strangled by weeds allows it to bloom and shine and flourish once again. But once that plant has been moved to a new location, it needs constant care, and lots of water, but ever so carefully, so as not to drown it.

Repair and renew.

As I tend and toil in my garden, my husband basks in the sun. When it comes to our yard, I am the queen of green.

But in our relationship, my husband is the gardener.

He is the caretaker, the stable one who waters and nourishes. And I am the thankful recipient of his protection, soaking up his love and attention.

While I shine, he tends. When I’m sad or weary, he encourages. When I’m down, he pulls me up.

I am his garden favorite so to speak.

Our unlikely paths crossed randomly, during a rainy period, before the leaves covered everything and the ground froze solid enough to break our spades.

I was the fiercely independent and untrusting woman. He was the problem solver, with a gentle and steady demeanor.

I was the perennial in desperate need of a transplant. He was the constant and consummate gardener.

His protective method of pruning and cultivating was vital to ensuring my productivity, my longevity, and my strength. And his special care and attention over the years reinforced my optimal growth.

He’s charming and witty, but in a quiet, subtle way. He wears with pride the same t-shirts and socks he’s had for 20 or more years. I used to be embarrassed by the holes in his socks and the greyish aura of his used-to-be-white shirts, but I understand now.

It took me years to realize that he can’t throw them away because he’s loyal. The most loyal man I have ever met.

And he is selfless. Caring nothing for himself.

He’s disciplined in a way I could never be. A pillar of strength and support and as solid as a mighty oak tree.

He refuses to acknowledge his birthday and makes me promise to say and do nothing for him on the day that should be a celebration of his life.

And he doesn’t want any accolades on Father’s Day, so as not to put any pressure on anyone to recognize or do anything special for him at all.

That kind of stuff breaks my heart because he’s a terrific father, husband, and grandfather, and deserves to be honored and recognized for all the wonderful things he is and does for his family.

And he repeatedly reminds me that he is not my father, so I should stop with all the Father’s Day hoopla.

No, he isn’t my father. But I can’t help thinking how blessed my life would have been if I had a father who was a fraction of the man my husband is.

I thought I needed a broken man who could relate to my broken parts.

But in the end, I found a most amazing and truly whole man who painstakingly repaired and renewed me.

I always thought I was the constant gardener, the caretaker, and the provider who could handle anything.

But I was wrong.

I was wrong about a lot of things.

But I was right about him.

Happy Father’s Day my love.

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