Nature vs. Nurture

Rowlett, Texas

The above photo is of COVINGTON'S NURSERY, shot from a HELICOPTER.

It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to, probably because I started making a point to always remember and say plant nursery, but it still does happen every now and again, and it still manages to catch me off guard. I’ll be talking about our nursery, about how exciting and beautiful it is, with over 18 acres of plants and trees and flowers, the big pond that we use for irrigation, our gift shop, etc… And then the person I’m talking to will say something utterly nonsensical like, “so, do you provide meals or just snacks?”

“Well… I mean, there’s a vending machine and a coke machine, and in a pinch I guess you could make a meal out if it?” I say. “I know I certainly have before, when we’ve been super busy, but I suppose, Final Answer, I’d say just snacks are ‘served’ at our nursery.”

What a weird question. And even weirder that this person looks horrified.

“Oh my! What is your child to caregiver ratio?!”

Oh. Ugh. We’re doing this again. When this happens, I always replay everything I just said over in my head, which makes it quite hard to not say something snarky, and just simply state, “We aren’t that kind of nursery.”

But, boy, do I always wanna say more. Like, did you not think the 18 acres of plant material I mentioned was a tad odd for a daycare to have? Did you just picture a bunch of free-range children that we let wander around the countryside like grazing sheep? How would that even work, come day’s end?

“I’m here to pick up Timmy.”

“Okay, just give us an hour or so to find him. He could be anywhere, from hiding in a wooded dell, to drowning in our pond, to hanging out in the gift shop I mentioned, the gift shop that you also apparently didn’t think was odd for a children’s nursery to have..."

But I get it, parents with young children are probably so exhausted that they just hear what they want to hear. They get so excited at the prospect of somewhere they could possibly dump their irritating kids for several hours a day, that they hear the word “nursery,” and then tune out everything I say afterwards. You know, phrases like “18 acres,” “irrigation pond,” and “gift shop.”

Most recently someone misunderstood the type of nursery I was describing after I had just talked at length about how we tour people around on golf carts. Does that sound remotely like any daycare you’ve ever seen or heard of? One with over a dozen golf carts? Name one childcare scenario where golf carts are involved. Also, I’m pretty sure I had also just talked about how we 'fertilize our inventory'— what a bizarre way for me to talk about feeding children, don’t you think? That's even weirder than the vending machines.

But if anyone is ever confused about what type of nursery I might be referring to, my foremost thought is always, look at me. Do I look like a person anyone would leave their children with? I’ve probably said about half a dozen curse words since we started talking. Clearly I don’t work around children.

Not to mention, who even uses the word nursery anymore to refer to a children’s daycare facility? Even if I were to employ the antiquated usage of the word, and use it to refer to something involving children, it certainly wouldn’t be to implicate some standalone daycare facility. It would be to talk about a posh room in a posh house, like the one where Peter Pan visited Wendy. That’s what I think of when forced to consider the other connotation of a “nursery.” I think of that bizarre but beautiful room where they all slept in twin beds, near a giant unlocked window.

Which one is a scarier place for children, I wonder? Our free-range nursery of plants and vending machines and well-fertilized children, or a crowded room with hospital beds and a terrifying window, where cross-dressers come in uninvited and sing show tunes to your kids in the middle of the night?

Talk amongst yourselves.

I have to go put price tags on all these new young saplings or we're never going to get rid of them.

*Woman pays attention to what I'm saying long enough to clutch pearls, feint.

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You can read HERE about whyI'm reluctant to shoot the nursery anymore like I used to, from a tiny helicopter.