The day after I moved into my dorm my Mom and Dad did a little shopping for me while I ran around during orientation.
Dad came back with a printer ($10 at a yard sale) to see if it would work.
Mom came back with a plant.
An ugly plant.
I think she felt pity for it. The lady who was hosting the yard sale was moving and getting rid of everything she couldn’t take or didn’t want. I’m assuming the plant fell into the “didn’t want” category, so my Mom took it under her wing.
When I first set eyes upon it I wanted to say, “No way, Mom. There is no way I’m keeping that in my dorm room.” Instead I made some comment about how it wasn’t very pretty (I think my Dad felt the same judging by the look on his face) but I took it and tried putting it in various places.
First, I set it on the middle shelf on the back wall of the room. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in, and I decided putting a plant there that looked half dead wasn’t a good move.
I ended up putting it on the highest shelf on my side of the room. I’m not sure what kind of plant it is, but its numerous vines grow over the basket and flow downward. I liked the fact that the vines would have a place to hang if I placed it higher, so it stayed up there.
At first the plant was a dark purple color. I thought that was how it was supposed to look, but once I started watering it (I figured that would be smart), green leaves began to appear.
And now I’ve grown weirdly attached to it.
I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve missed having something to take care of. I worked at a daycare this past summer, I was a nanny, and I’m also the oldest of 5 kids. I’m used to taking care of someone.
Now that I’m in college, far from home, all I need to do is take care of is myself. I hardly know how to do that. I didn’t realize until now how important it is to my health to be taking care of others.
Anytime one of the girls on my floor asks me to braid her hair I say yes, because I wish I said yes every time my sister had asked. I volunteer to make people tea if they aren’t feeling well, because I want them to feel better. I made Ramen for my friend the other night when she could have handled making it on her own. I caught myself counting heads while I was walking through Pike Place with a group of friends a few weekends ago.
And now I think I know why.
I miss the people I took care of, more than I could ever convey through words.
Three weeks ago I was considering throwing the plant my Mom bought in the trash, or out of my 6th story window (just to see what would have happened)…
Now I don’t know what I would do without it. In a sense, I’m almost protective of it.
I love watering it.
I love watching it grow.
It makes me want to write my Mom a thank you note.
“Happiness is neither virtue, nor pleasure, nor this thing or that, but simply growth.
We are happy when we are growing.”
~William Butler Yeats