For the Love of Mulch: Thoughts on Parenthood


What I’m about to tell you is pretty unusual. I doubt many people can say this. My eight year old loves mulch. He has since he was two. I have no idea why. This time of year rolls around and he loves pointing out the businesses that have just mulched their beds. He begs to get ours ordered. He smells freshly spread mulch from a mile away. And it isn’t just because he loves playing in it. He actually enjoys loading it in the wheelbarrow, rolling it to the right spot, unloading it, and spreading it.

Our yearly supply was delivered yesterday. You should have seen his eyes light up like fire when I told him the plan for the evening was to work on spreading it.

No joke: he worked from 4:00 until 8:00 last night. He got almost every bed in the front yard done with only a little help from me for the first hour and half. His little body was so sore when he woke up this morning. His pants soak in the washing machine as I write, evidence of his endeavor.

Today he came home from school, dropped his shorts in the entryway and ran up to put on his work jeans.

I was gone last night when he got finished. This morning I observed the kitchen floor. It was covered in mulch debris. I sighed as I began to sweep it all up, but then I started to offer thanksgiving for an incredible young man with an amazing work ethic. As a parent, I often wonder if I am getting it right. I truly try, but I know I’m not perfect. This was one of those moments that I was able to see a shadow of what he might grow up to be like. Someone hard working and responsible. A person driven and appreciating God’s creation. He said last night, “The yard looks so much better doesn’t it, Mom?” What a guy!

My dad would be so proud. I wonder if you can get a gardening gene? If so, there is no doubt that is who gave it to him. Watching my oldest is a sweet reminder of my dad’s love of landscaping.

Now the only key is to hope he still likes to do this as a teenager! I best not hold my breath.



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