"mommy, we don't yell at the bunnies!"

Caroline and I (with limited assistance from Connor) planted rows of sunflowers, basil and tomatoes in a tray of coned seed starters. We watered them, we put them outside on warmer sunny days, we placed them in the kitchen window to soak in the sunlight and collect heat from the baseboards below. In two weeks time things were sprouting throught the dirt and she marveled at how she had helped create LIFE. She had nurtured those seeds, she checked them every single day and she was so proud. Ah, FOUR.

The sunflowers grew taller, sprouting leaves and when their roots started to grow out of the bottom of the tray I planted them into a bigger pot together. The days grew warmer and warmer (remember back when we thought the season had switched to spring and summer seemed just a heartbeat away?) and I got gutsy. We picked out a sunny spot in the yard and planted them in a row. She watered them carefully and I was so happy that we had taken that time, all those weeks moving them in and out of the sun. I, the girl with the black thumb, had grown something FROM A SEED. Never before people, NEVER before. We stood there watching them in the breeze and told her that soon there would be flowers and they would grow taller than even Daddy.

She couldn't wait to see that.

The very next morning as I doled out Eggo waffles and cups of OJ I glanced out at the garden suddenly springing to life beyond the bay window. The dogwood, the green buds, it was going to be amazing. The previous owner had quite a garden and it was and still is fun to see what we have growing.

A rabbit!

Caroline jumped up on the bench to find "Peter" and I collected Connor from his seat to get a look before that adorable little bunny ran off to parts unknown. The bunny turned and hopped into the garden. Oh look, we marveled! Connor pointed. Caroline smiled widely. "Hey!" I half shouted as the rabbit started chopping the tops off of some yet unknown plant I couldn't identify. He was robbing me of finding out what it might be! "HEY!" I shouted. I started banging on the glass, shooing it away.

"Mommy, we don't yell at the bunnies!" Caroline parroted back the lesson I had tried to teach her earlier that week. "When we see an animal outside we want to watch and enjoy, we sit quietly. We do not clap our hands, we don't yell, we pretend to be the quietest girl in the whole world."

I checked on our sunflowers later that day. Stems. The leafy budding tops had been lopped off no doubt by "Peter" himself.

She was crushed. The look on her face of utter disappointment and despair physically pained me.

I started over myself determined to create this for her again. I got a new tray, planted new seeds, watered them and she already has 11 small sunflowers poking their way through the dirt. These precious beauties are going in containers on the screened in porch, far from that rabbit's nose. I specifically got smaller ones meant for containers. I know she will be disappointed when they don't grown taller than Daddy as I promised, but they will grow, which is far more than can be said for the poor stems over in that sunny spot where we probably stumbled upon those ticks. Even Caroline isn't too fond of those pesky rabbits now. I've got to get something to spray on these plants or we will never get to see what we have growing back there.

She's excited for sunflowers. I'm anxiously waiting for fresh basil. It's all growing! I have sustained something green TWICE in one season. It's a minor miracle.


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