We have been visiting the Gardens of Lake Merritt since we moved here when Emma turned two.
She has always wanted to grow up and be a helper in the bonsai garden.
The master gardeners have been very patient with her and over the years invited her to watch and learn.
During the pandemic she showed up a lot more often, willing to help out in any way she could. There was lots of sweeping and raking leaves which she loved.
Now they give her small jobs like weeding with tweezers. She likes being trusted with the care of their special trees.
The docents and gardeners are mostly older and appreciate her eagerness. They tell me she is very polite and always welcome.
For a child who is stuck at home with her parents it is a blessing to learn from someone new, and to see others faces light up when she visits.