(Photo: Shutterstock).

By Mary Lynn Bruny

Most all gardens are wonderful, but some hold a special place in your heart. For my husband and I, this was our sons’ pee garden. And, yes, I mean “pee” and not “pea.”

Anybody who spends time with small children knows that they take their playing extremely seriously. They scoff at taking up valuable time with insignificant formalities such as eating, bathroom breaks, bathing and sleeping.

When our two sons, Alex and Nick, were small boys they were no exception to this. During the summers they would busy themselves from dawn to dusk, usually in our backyard. They tolerated parental intrusions when in need of sustenance, materials or an audience to admire their handiwork. Their days of unadulterated freedom were spent with endeavors such as creating rivers and ponds, which involved shovels, hoses, sticks, rocks and many yellow Tonka trucks and plastic boats. Neighborhood friends came and went, fellow soldiers in their current mission.

During this time it occurred to me – being the conscientious parent I am – that the boys never came inside to pee. I inquired as to how this was so, and our sons replied they went in the pee garden. I hoped this wasn’t our neighbor’s vegetable garden, and luckily it was not. It was a small, hidden strip of our land between the neighbor’s garage and ours that was adjacent to the back alley.

When I walked into this concealed patch of wild foliage, the pungent smell assured me it was indeed a place frequented by little boys. Yet, amazingly, the vegetation was basically healthy, including a huge, old rhubarb plant that I came to believe was impossible to kill.

This pee garden’s existence did not surprise me one bit. Sadly, it was a step up in terms of behavior. Anyone with little boys knows that they will pee in all kinds of odd places. They are testing out fun and interesting ways to use their “equipment” while saving precious time.

Our backyard connected to our home’s basement level where the boys had a playroom but no bathroom. Going up the one flight up stairs to the powder room apparently required a Herculean effort they simply could not muster. Therefore, for a while they peed in the cats’ litter box that was in the basement. When I discovered this and shut it down, they then peed into a nearby cleaning bucket.

Being an open-minded (and lackadaisical) parent, I decided the use of the pee garden was just fine. It fit their summer outdoor lifestyle, hurt no one or no thing (even the rhubarb apparently), and certainly was an improvement for both the cats and me.

But why did they call it a garden? Well, really it made perfect sense. Our family designated all types of gardens around our property: perennial, vegetable and rose. This particular little patch of land the boys claimed was – simply put – a garden for pee. Quite logical reasoning if you’re a small child.

As our boys got bigger and began living more like civilized human beings they somehow mastered how to pee in bathrooms all year round. Peeing outdoors went by the wayside along with those open-ended days of summer.

Now our guys are grown men, and my husband and I live in a different house. I suppose we will forever miss the sounds of children mucking about. If we’re lucky someday we’ll have grandchildren disturbing the peace. I would like to dedicate some place on our small property for another pee garden though I’m not sure where. Perhaps it’s where only rhubarb will grow.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to athomecolorado.com/the-lighter-side.