Forgive me if this sounds too New Age-y, but I’ve been thinking about it all morning.
Positive and negative energy.
I’m sure you’ve heard people joke around about talking to plants. It seems amusing, even I can admit that. It’s been a running joke at our house I can keep cut flowers alive and pretty far longer than I can potted plants. I’ve killed so many plants I may very well be on some sort of EPA watch list. That certainly hasn’t been my goal.
I remember when I first got married, my grandpa gave me a couple Aloe Vera plants. admittedly, those are not hard to grow, but they were alive, even through lack of attention for a few years. Eventually, things went down hill quickly and drastically in my marriage, and the plants both died within weeks. Completely unable to be revived. I remember crying as I threw them away. Our fish died about the same time too. I felt, apparently, I couldn’t keep anything alive, not my marriage, not my fish, not my plants. It was incredibly depressing.
Not one to give up, I’d try again and again. I’d bring plants into this house full of anger and poison, and they would die. Is it any wonder, when I look back I felt parts of me were dying too? DA finally left, I was so heart-broken and angry. I’d keep bringing home plants, just to watch them die, no matter how much attention they were given. I left that house, but kept my attitude…2 yrs of watching daisies and ferns and various other plants turn brown, shrivel up, and die.
I was eventually able to get my own apartment, and because I am stubborn, I bought a little bamboo plant. I watered it and took care of it, and it thrived. I was doing well, and finally getting a handle on things. Winter came, and our heat wasn’t working, and the landlord wouldn’t answer his phone. I had space heaters, but they tended to trip the fuse overnight, so, we’d wake up to a 40 degree house. The kids and I began sleeping in the same bed, with an electric blanket, and 10 other blankets. We considered it a win when we woke up and the house was all of 55 degrees. I began to panic, and wonder if maybe I wasn’t a good mom, maybe the kids should be with their dad. I couldn’t even keep them warm in the winter. Now, the little bamboo plant started to die. I started staying up at Brad’s more often, because he had heat. Even if he wasn’t home, the kids would be warm. And I left my plant behind. But, I was happy, the kids were happy. When I went home, I’d try to remember to water it, I’d look for the warmest place to put it. I always kind of figured THIS was the day I’d go home, and the plant would be completely dead. But, it kept surprising me.
We finally decided to actually live together. The almost completely brown bamboo plant came with us. And, it found a home in the kitchen, where it somehow slowly turned green again. Deciding to try my luck, I bought an orange and a lemon tree, and put them in the kitchen window. I hoped I’d have them a month. 9 months later they seem to almost double in size every week. I bought 2 more bamboo plants. Bamboo is supposed to be lucky, right? I figured it couldn’t hurt. Again, months later, they are fine. Several weeks ago, the littlest Monster asked for an aloe vera plant. I only found them for about $15 and I didn’t quite trust that my black thumbs had turned green yet. 2 days later I found a small, dying, plant on clearance at the store, for maybe $1, it was the plant he wanted, I also found another plant that looked like it should be beautiful, but it was barely hanging on. I bought them both, brought them home, and replanted them. They are thriving.
I am not surprised. I honestly think my old house was filled with poison. The yelling, the screaming, the lies, the abuse. I think if I hadn’t gotten out when I did, the kids and I would have followed the plants, and little by little we’d die until there was nothing left of us to save. The useful part of me would just dry up, like the gel in the plants leaves, while the rest of me just tried to survive.
I hate myself sometimes for allowing the kids to live like that as long as I did. Especially the day I had to tell them daddy wasn’t coming back, and they were relieved. But now, things have changed. Our new home isn’t full of the hatred the old one was. It’s full of love and it’s happy and comfortable. The boys have cousins with much bigger houses, and huge yards, who want to come here and play because they “love it here”. My mom comes here to relax. And, it always surprises me, because, I’m proud of our little house, but, it’s no show place. When we have a party, you practically have to stack the people. But people like to be here. We like to be here. There isn’t any more yelling and screaming and fighting. Even the bad days are handed respectfully.
And the kids, the plants and myself, are thriving.
That first little bamboo plant sits in the kitchen, if you look closely, it is actually 3 plants, one is beautiful, one is doing great, but still carries some scars from the bad times the base of the plant is poor, but it has new growth coming from it, and the third twists around one, completely gone and beyond repair. Brown and dry. I suppose I could trim it back, or completely cut it off, but, I don’t. I keep it as a reminder. Maybe I’m reading too much into my plants, but, this little plant is my reminder for how to live. That you can go through a lot of bad, but, you can pull through and still be beautiful in spite of your scars. And, the perfect one, if how we can aspire to be. And that dead one is a reminder of how neglect and hate can destroy a life. How bad energy can suck the good right out. How, just showing up once in awhile and doing the bare minimum isn’t enough. You actually have to put some effort in, some love in. Here is my little bamboo plant I’ve had for about a year and a half now. Pretty good for someone who has never been able to keep a plant alive longer than a couple weeks!
And, now, wish me luck, because today I planted a small window sill herb garden and am really hoping I do , in fact, have a green thumb.