I wrote yesterday about my motherliness. Believe it or not, I’ve been known to be rather motherly even with plants. Alas, I lack any ability to care for plants. My relationships with plants always end very painfully and tearfully. Here’s something I wrote in February 2007:
I just spent considerable time weeping, sobbing, and agonizing over a plant. Not a big, beautiful plant. A tiny, wilted little thing. It’s been on my mantle for a long time now. It was one of the plants my coworkers gave me when Patrick died. Then, it was large and flourishing, with clusters of flowers. It died off pretty quickly, and has never been the same. But it has hung in there for about 21 months now!
This afternoon, I decided it was probably about time to give up on it. My heart already breaking to pieces, I took it down from the mantle. I stood with it over my garbage can. I apologized profusely, angry at the ignoble burial it was to receive. Then I gently laid it on top. I immediately began to cry as I looked down at the tiny green stems and even tinier leaves. I felt so guilty! I had often neglected it. But never intentionally! Just because I’m completely absentminded and completely inept when it comes to plants! I love and adore them… I just don’t have the gift of caring for them.
Nonetheless, I’ve had this little plant for so long. I found out pretty quickly that if broken or cut, the stems could be replanted and regrow their roots and regenerate themselves. It was just a pure instinct on my part. And I learned that this particular plant is incredibly forgiving of little water and no direct light. In short… I feel like I know this plant! I have no idea what genus and species it is, but that doesn’t matter! I have always admired its perseverance.
Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I had the plant away from the garbage and was intensely trying to repair it! I lost a few stems and a small handful of leaves, but I was able to get the others re-situated. I carefully made sure that they were all securely planted. I told them that they would be in shock for a little while, but that they would be good as new before long. I promised not to give up on them! I can’t give up on them.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, I am like this with all plants! I’ve lost quite a few… too many. I almost cringe whenever I end up with a plant in my custody (I never buy them for myself), because I fear it will end badly. But then, an instant later, I’m totally in love with the plant, and can’t think of rejecting it! Even if I know it might have a better life in some other circumstance, with someone else, it’s usually not an option. So, I just try to do the best I can for it. I mourn and grieve for them if/when they die. Truly, I suffer for them! I like to think that what I lack in practicality, I more than make up for with love. And I think it’s much better to be loved than anything else in the whole world!
I know—plants probably can’t feel love or anything else, as far as we can tell. But they still deserve love!
Oh my gosh… reading over this again has brought tears to my eyes! You have no idea how badly I wanted that little plant to live, to make it, to beat the enormous odds!
It didn’t. But I will never, ever forget it. And I will never forget how it helped my heart to grow in love.
And just in case any of my family or friends are reading this… please remember this story should you find yourself considering giving me a plant as a gift! It’s a sweet, beautiful thought, it truly is, and I love you for it, but please–think of the plant! On behalf of all plantkind: Thank you. :)