Last night we carried a sobbing Daniel to bed. You see, he had just learned that the flowers and vegetables we planted last summer were dying and worse, there was nothing we could do to prevent it. We had planted zinnias, zucchini and peppers more as an experiment than anything else. He loved watering them, watching them sprout and grow and (sort of) bloom. Every night he said goodnight to them, bestowing kisses on them. The zucchini never bore fruit and the peppers never appeared. The zinnias grew tall, though.
A few weeks ago, I had started moving the summer plants to the side of the porch to make way for mums and pansies. This change confused Daniel and he tried to restore the plants to their former location but soon settled for telling the browning plants good night in their new location.
We had been telling him about growing seasons and how some plants are annuals while others are perennials, and it all clicked last night. He looked at us like we betrayed him, and it broke his heart that the plants he had cherished were dying. Cue tears.
We wiped his tears and reassured him that we would plant more flowers and vegetables next year. I think it helped a little.
Was this his first heartbreak? His first realization that time marches on and that life can be cruel and so often beyond our control? I know one thing: our little boy loves. He has a good heart and this first ache will make him and it stronger.