When I first starting working in our garden Thorsten accused me of being obsessed.

It it true?

Well, every chance I get I’m looking for plants or dreaming up a garden design. Once I get out there, I mean to do just one thing and end up in the middle of a project I thought up while doing the one thing. Sometimes I have no idea what time it is or how long I’ve been at it. The only thing that seems to bring me inside is really having to pee or that frantic feeling that I’m late to pick up my kids at preschool.

Case and point: Today’s project was planting bulbs. Simple, right?

I had a few spots in mind but once I got out there, I saw that digging wasn’t possible where I had planned. I needed a new flower bed. Could I manage building something like that on a random weekday morning? I  knew I could. I already had all the supplies I needed.

But more to the obsessive point –why did I have 100 kg of gravel and lots of stones just sitting around waiting to be used?

Rewind to July–I was weeding a gravel circle that contained the kid’s sandbox and realized that we didn’t really need a gravel circle. So the next day I raked the gravel out and planted grass. Great!

The only problem was that then the kids couldn’t really get near the sandbox to play (in the middle of summer…)

A few weeks of waiting went by and on a whim I got the idea to build a path to the sandbox so that the kids could play again and not disturb the new grass. That very minute I collected stones from around the yard and started building it.



I was pretty proud of it until I realized that I hadn’t leveled the ground and I didn’t really have enough gravel. After looking at my work, my vision for the space grew more lofty. Now I wanted the path to circle a little flower bed.


So, I headed to Obi  (our version of Home Depot) and got the materials I needed to make what started off as just planting grass seed into a huge, unneccessary project…


That weekend I set aside an entire morning to not only rebuilding the path correctly but to building the little flower bed. I spent about an hour dismantling the path I had already built and digging and pulling up weeds in the area where I wanted the garden bed to be. I also had to get rid of some posts that were left over from the previous renters. After all that I stood back and looked at the space.


Much to my dismay I saw that a path didn’t actually make sense in that spot. I didn’t know what to do next. My project was stalled.

While waiting for inspiration to strike it occurred to me that I do this a lot. I envision a garden or a life or a vacation for a different time, a different place and ultimately different people. There is nothing wrong with that but it can get in the way. It can be sort of paralzying and limiting and frustrating. It can cause a person not to appreciate what they’ve got.

We are here, in Bavaria, in a rented house with two littles under five. That means certain things make sense and are fun for us and certain other things aren’t.

Since I moved to Germany and became a mama I’ve been acting like I just pushed pause on my old-life and my old-vision for what I thought 40 look like. Or maybe I’m having trouble accepting that I’m in my 40’s at all…

Anyway, I’m always trying to get back to it –to exercise every day, to work more outside the home, to have time to shop and look put together, to have a reason to wear heels, to get back to ballet, to get back to professional horticulture. Do you see the common theme? To get back. One I day I will probably do all those things again–but it won’t be because I got back to it. It will be because I moved on to it or grew into it. It will be because that is my new now.

The truth is: there is no “old self.” There is only you. And there is no “old life,” there is only right now. I always make fun of my mom for talking so much about acceptance but in this case I have to hand it to her. It’s what I need to do. Accept and appreciate where I am now, and where we are as a family –right now.

It’s important not to lose yourself in motherhood and marriage but it is also important to be “woke” to your reality and to create a life for yourself and for your tribe that embraces that reality.

Back out in the garden it dawned on me–just nice green grass next to the kid’s sand box made the most sense– right now. Not a stone path and certainly not a garden bed. So, I sprinkled the grass seed, watered and waited.

Fast forward to this morning. The grass is really starting to come in and I’m ready to plant my bulbs.

Finally inspiration struck in a reasonable way– use the stones and the gravel to build a garden bed for the bulbs, next to the garden shed–Not next to the sandbox. This plan indulges my obsession and embraces our now.

Without much trouble I dug up the grass, built a little edging wall out of the stones and filled it with potting soil. Got the bulbs in there and Voila!! I still lost track of time getting all the tiny pieces of gravel into the cracks between the stones. I really felt like kid building a sand castle. But I got the job done, cleaned up and got the kids from pre-school on time. Mom win!

Thorsten is right though–without a doubt–this is totally an obsession.