“Emma, I’m going to come to the garden every day.”
It was Santos. One of my garden regulars. He had come to the garden immediately after finishing his lunch to inform me of this.
“That’s awesome!” I replied. Perhaps not realizing the gravity of what he was saying.
“Every day” He repeated. “My friends tell me they want me to play with them but I come here instead.”
“Well, Santos, I love it when you come to the garden, but I don’t want you to feel like you have to.”
“But I like being in the garden” He stated.
“I like being in the garden too.”
Santos had been coming to the garden almost everyday before his declaration of complete commitment. But now it was official, and he reminded me whenever he got the chance. It is for kids like Santos that I really do love being in the garden everyday. It may be an off morning, maybe I didn’t drink enough coffee, or I had a rough night’s sleep, maybe I had no idea what I was going to do with the kids once I got there, but when Santos comes running in –
“Emma! Emma! Can I get a bug box? Can we do a bug race? Can I harvest a carrot? Can I use a tool?”
– How can I help but be as excited as he is?
There have been times when only a handful of kids come into the garden for recess or lunch, the activities I planned for my large groups of regulars must be put off for another time. Sometimes Santos will inform me, “Not that many people came to the garden this week” And sometimes he’s right. But then, one day later, 5 new faces will walk through the gate, and after eating a flower that tastes like broccoli, or catching the biggest pincher bug, it seems they are destined to join my regular crew as well.
And so, on Thursday, as we were gathering fresh leaves of lettuce to use as “tortillas” for our carrot and viola tacos, Santos says to me, a pinch of nervousness in his voice,
“Emma I think I’m going to go play with my friends.”
He had made his own veggie taco the day before, and I think he was getting antsy.
“Of course! Have fun!”
I reply with enthusiasm, encouraging him to go play a game of basketball. It is easy to watch him go, because I know something much more important – He will definitely be back.
Garden highlights: cauliflower & violas in the cafeteria!