Saturday, December 5, 2009

Survival Experiment

Almost 25 years ago I brought my first child home from the hospital.  I had just turned 24 only the previous week and here I was with a newborn.  I did not realize until I laid her down on my bed to unravel the myriad of blankets that I was the last stop! The buck stopped with me!  Panic set in right about then.  I started to cry for her not for me.   Afterall I could not even make committments to my plants and keep them alive and thriving.  Most of them had been on life support numerous times barely making it back to green again. 

Flashbacks of dried up, lifeless, thirsty plants danced in my head.  I had to push these images out of my head and focus on the life that was now dependent on me. 

I decided that if I was currently her best shot in life, then I would Be The Best Mother and it would not matter if all went to hell around me.  Yes including the plants. 

I looked at my daughter lying so helpless and innocent on my bed and declared" I really hope you do have a better shot than the plants"!  She smiled up at me and then I realized we were going to survive all my insecurities and mistakes to come because she already had a sense of humor when she realized who her mother was. 

After that terrifying moment of realization came the true reality of life.  I was and always will be where the buck stops for my family. 

Sooo, this year I bought some bamboo plants for myself right after the 24 year old moved out to her own apartment.  Since I clearly seen that the baby that I brought home 24 years ago had survived and she was the one who had the worst shot being my first...I decided that I would give the plants another shot and I chose bamboo because they have the highest survival rate.

I bought 6 bamboo stalks and planted 4 separately to symbolize my 3 children and the dog and 2 together to symbolize my huband and I.  I placed them all in front of my brightly lit kitchen window. The reasoning behind the placement choice was 2 fold.  One it obviously had a lot of sun, but two was that the survival rate for each of them would be higher if I seen them up close and personal every day.  I would be able to water them as each one of them needed it. 

I very quickly realized that I made the right choices to keep them right in front of me each and every day.  They needed a lot of water, more than I ever thought.  I kept a close watch on them and took care of each of them with the same light water and attention.

As the months progressed the plants were not growing and thriving at the same rate even though they were getting the same care.  I checked to see if they were all getting the same amount of light etc and they were. 

My original plan was to eventually pot them all together once I had established their root systems firmly.  I was hesitant to pot them together until each one of them proved that they could sustain the move and that their root systems would not impede the other root systems in anyway.

Well I gave them all  ample time and I kept hoping the one plant that was on life support would make a comeback so I could put them together as planned. 

The test was going to be when I went away for a week and left them to themselves with ample light and water.  Well when I came back from my trip I knew it was time to pull the plug.  I truly was sad that I had to do this but I learned so much from this whole experience.

When I looked at the plants, I realized just as the sunlight and watering were the same for each plant  I  gave each of my children all the same of everything that they needed to thrive for their indivduality and their particular needs.

Each one of them have a firm root system and they are able to sustain the blowing winds of life because they have been given the gift of love by their parents who tended to each of their needs physically, emotionally and intellectually. 

The big test for my plants today will be if they can survive their move to the pot that put their root systems together.  Will their rooting sytems somehow learn to work together to make them stronger and survive as a whole.  I hope so !  I know it has worked for the five of us. 

Obviously I am a better mother than a gardener or ... is it that I Chose to be the "Best Mother "  that day almost 25 years ago and not the best gardener???

Remember we do not have to be "The Best" we just have to strive to "Do the Best" that we can do with what we have to work with and that has to be enough.

Look at me, my resume had nothing on it to equip me for the job I had signed up for over 25 years ago.


  1. I am with you, I was just telling my daughter how I felt when I brought her home 16 1/2 years ago, I told her I couldn't believe they let me take her home, I felt so overwhelmed with the responsibility, didn't know I had such a capacity to love someone. She is growing up to be a beautiful person/woman, but as far as my plants go, not so much. Really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Great analogy - loved this post. The advantage of a home birth (21 years ago for my daughter) is that we kind of didn't get out of bed for a few days and she just melded into our lives as though she'd always been there. Once plants take root the same thing happens...

  3. Love it - I had my first child in 1985 at 23 or 24, can't remember, but I can TOTALLY relate to your post.

    Hope you don't mind, I linked to you post from my blog -

    Thanks for writing what I've been thinking.


  4. Thanks Connie for reading and commenting :). come back again!!!