In The Garden, In The Kitchen

Nici Holt Cline Girls

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My daughters and me in our plot, turning in over-wintered leaves, counting worms, discovering garlic shoots, planting seeds.

My daughters and me in our kitchen, rolling dough, measuring apricots, licking spoons, dashing salt.

You know when you are doing something and it feels good and you step out of yourself to witness the total contentment of the moment? The simple perfection of two feet on the ground and existing? I feel that when I am gardening and cooking with my kids.

In the garden Margot emulates me and Ruby studies Margot. Collecting rocks, searching for beetles and rearranging dirt. I make paths that Margot respects and Ruby ignores. We talk about the miracle of a seed becoming food, why weeds get pulled and how worms move without legs or arms.

In the kitchen my girls share a stool at my side. Margot’s feet parallel and flat, Ruby up on her tippiest toe aching to be as big and agile as her sister. A leveled teaspoon of baking powder is breathtaking, a diced carrot is magic, a mountain of shredded cheese induces starry eyes. We talk about what measuring means, just how hot the stove is and why different colored food makes bodies strong.

It isn’t efficient or easy. It is a commitment that I am happy to make. The experiences involve detours like when Margot enthusiastically feeds the worms an entire packet of lettuce seed (“I just really do think they are hungry mama”) or when Ruby’s pudgy hand pulls the bag of flour off the counter. Margot gets frustrated with Ruby’s lack of coordination and impulsive sweeps. Ruby sobs when Margot doesn’t approve of her actions. There is a lot of redirecting, making up important jobs and assigning duties so they are involved and I can accomplish a task. Margot, I need you to count 17 pieces of celery and put them in this bowl. Ruby, I need you fill this bucket with dirt using this tiny spoon.

When I cook and garden with my kids my world is vivid and understandable. I feel like we have everything we need: confidence, connection, simplicity, love, learning, ability and each other. We dig, stir, combine and tend. We create, we grow. I swear these are my most favorite moments of my life.

How about you? What is your perfect moment? When do you feel most confident, most at peace?


About the Author

Nici Holt Cline

A fourth generation Montanan raising a fifth, Nici Holt Cline is a mama to Margot and Ruby, wife, gardener, crafter and runner who loves to write and take photos. She writes regularly on her popular blog .

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