It's a question that I cannot answer: "Why Kitty Hide?"
It's also a question, in restrospect, that I miss and could hear over and over again.
The wife that is Venus and I hosted our niece and nephew this weekend at our North Natomas home. The parents of the 2-year old girl (think TERRIBLE TWO'S) and 5-year old boy needed a bit of a break to be honest. We were more than happy to help them out.
Venus and I both know that the seeds that bring about a love for gardening must be nurtured at an early age. Our niece and nephew had never planted a garden before, until this weekend, and they seemed to enjoy it immensely.
I think they also loved running from "The Scarecrow" monster, a motion detection system that shoots a stream of water at whatever crosses its path. Still, they seemed to have a lot of fun planting the final crops of the 2009 garden -- a bed for our pickling cucumbers.
While little Celina loved running about the garden, she was most interested in the cats. And she simply could not understand why they would run in terror from this shrieking little girl. And so, throughout the weekend, this innocent little girl would look me straight in the eye and ask: "Why Kitty Hide?"
I learned that there was no good answer to this puzzling question. In fact, it didn't matter what answer I gave, as it usually prompted the response of: "Why Kitty Hide?"
And not just any kitty, but all four of them.
So, while we did our best to distract Celina with efforts such as planting pole beans, she still couldn't get over the fact that these flurry, fluffy creatures didn't want to come anywhere near her. That's why I hear the question over and over again today: "Why Kitty Hide?"
As it turns out -- both little Mark and little Celina do have a bit of that gardening gene in them. Celina, however, isn't quite ready to put anything harvested from the garden in her mouth at this point (not many 2-year olds are ready at age 2), but Marquitos was a different story. I was surprised.
It took a long time before Bill Bird would let a tomato come near him. I certainly wasn't eating garden produce at age 5. It would take several more years of cajoling and outright threats from my mother before I dared eat a slice of cucumber. But -- little Marky? He's different.
But it didn't stop there. Not hardly. Mark was to discover the next day that he actually liked fresh peas from the garden. You could have knocked me over. I never would have believed it. A five year old boy picking pea pods, splitting them open, and devouring every pea inside? It took me years to get to that point.
Venus and I do not have children, yet. For most couples, acquiring children is akin to falling off a turnip truck. But for other couples, well, it can be a struggle. Put us in that "struggle" category. And, I think it's then that you come to realize that children are really God's greatest gift.
There is really nothing like teaching a child to dig a small hole for a starter plant or seed. The joy of watching a young child tear into a pea pod, or hunger for something else you have just harvested from the backyard is hard to describe. But there is a sense of satisfaction. The hard work of previous weekends is paying off. It's paying off in ways you never imagined.
I know that the weekend we spent with our niece and nephew helped plant the seeds for future gardens in future years. I know that they look forward to coming back later this summer, when they will see the seeds that they planted this spring flower and produce. Hopefully, they'll get to sample their work, and begin to understand the answers to some of the gardening questions they have.
But -- there is one question that can probably never be answered.
Why Kitty Hide?