I’m not particularly interested in flower gardening. I’ll freely cop to the fact that one of my most significant faults is my truly excessive practicality and flower gardening is just…eh. What’s the point, right? I can’t eat them. I have limited gardening time and limited gardening space and extremely limited gardening talent, so why would I waste any of that on something that is not fundamentally useful?

Then a few weeks ago I was reading a bit about gardening and the author mentioned, in an offhand manner, the way that inter-planting flowers in your vegetable garden can help bring in pollinators and increase yield. And I thought, “I’m sorry, what?”  And this is such an obvious truth to gardening that I hesitate to write it here because it makes me look a bit, well, dim.  But I guess I am dim because I never fully thought about before. You mean something doesn’t necessarily need to be 100% needed to be useful? Well. That’s interesting.  It also explains a lot about my crappy gardens.

There I was a thing I was going to do last year that you may remember. I was going to give $50 away every month to a charitable cause just because. You may have thought I forgot about it. I didn’t, really. I spent the money for a bit, and then we had tight month for one reason or another. So I skipped that month. And then I skipped the next month, probably for the same one or another reason. And then I kept skipping months, even after cash flow improved, because I couldn’t stop overthinking where it could go, or what I should give to, and which was the best way to spend the cash. What if I gave the money to Organization A, when Person B was clearly in more distress? Or what if Person B was really not the neediest and I should really be worried about it Fundraiser C? And so on and so forth while my $50 did nothing for anyone.

But I didn’t forget about what I’d said I would do. The obligation was still there, in the back of my brain, squatting angrily next to all the other obligations I was ignoring.  It takes a lot of energy to ignore all of those things, all those bills to pay, things to clean, food to cook, exercise to do, and, yes, blog posts to write. No wonder I’m so tired all the time.  But when you ignore as many obligations as I do, you learn to silence the muttering from back there so that you can get on with the more important stuff, like building block towers with the children or watching Downton Abbey.

Then the other day a friend of mine posted a link to a friend of hers who was raising money to help offset costs of a stem cell transplant. And I didn’t wonder if the cause was legit, I didn’t do a background search on the recipients, I didn’t check with Michael, I didn’t wait to see if something better came along in the next week. I didn’t even stop to wonder if these folks were secretly planning a trip to Bora Bora. I just hit the “Contribute” button, typed in my payment information, and whispered, “Fly free, little fifty bucks.” Okay, I didn’t actually do that last part, but I kind of wish I did.

The obligation beast (well, that one anyway) immediately left the back of my brain to go get some lunch and that’s when I remembered: “Right. This is what I meant to do all along.”  Over the last year I’ve been feeling so badly about my inability to plant a vegetable garden, the most absolutely perfect, truly productive, absolutely-above-reproach vegetable garden, and I never realized that what I actually needed to do was to plant some flowers just for the fun of it. And, shockingly, those flowers might turn out to be useful, too.

I’m going to try to do better this year, both in gardening and in being charitable. And I wish those fine folk s a lovely trip to Bora Bora.

If you are interested, that family has reached their goal but they are still accepting donations because they will have costs above and beyond their goal. Link here: http://www.indiegogo.com/flinn/

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