People Need the Right Kind of Care
Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dear Readers,

I've been having a grand time with my two youngest children, Amir, 4 and Anissa, 5. Gianni, 14, is in high school and that's been an interesting experience for me.

Amir started school this year and he has been quite and interesting study. We were not sure if he was actually ready to go to school. He is a loner and has an imaginative spirit. My first born son, Gianni, was so different from Amir when he was a preschooler. Gianni was content with his Legos and his books. He wasn't much into anything else but the Power Rangers characters.

Amir, however, is quite different. He is a rambunctious little boy with a mind of his own. He mimics adults by trying to help with household chores and seems to have a love for breakdancing. Yes, breakdancing.

I remember the first time watching him getting on the floor in typical breakdance style and trying to spin on his head at three-years old. He has an old school style and displays a whole lot of fancy footwork and has a couple of power moves that would put a smile on your face. The thing about Amir is that you cannot laugh out loud or else he becomes shy again, retreating back into his own world.

In Amir's world, he has an imaginary friend named Junior. Junior has green legs and red hair and has been Amir's constant companion since he could speak. Junior is his buddy.

Amir - The Dragonslayer... Plantslayer

One day I heard “swish … whack … swish … whack.” I almost broke my neck running up the stairs, preparing for the cries of one of the children. Amir stood in the bathroom with a towel around his neck and a yard stick. He triumphantly stated, “ Junior and I were playing kill the dragon.”

I thought, What dragon? Then I saw the plant. The one, of two plants, that had been left over from my days with one child.

House plants used to keep me busy before the newspaper. I would split them and share them with family and friends when they got too big for their pots. I used to have over thirty plants that flourished under my tender loving care. Over the years, the time that I took to take care of plants went by the wayside. Of course it did, I had more children and less time. I have two plants left; one sits in a huge flower pot and the other hangs.

The “dragon” plant sat in the bathroom for years, I don't know how it survived but it did. I knew if I put them in the bathroom that I would water them and pass by them at least three or four times a day. I must admit that sometimes I would walk right by them basically ignoring them.

I cringed when I saw the plant's leaves on the bathroom floor. The “dragon plant” was slayed by a miniature explorer. My heart was broken by the thought that I had not been especially attentive to the plant and it continued to grow.

Well, actually, to be truthful when I did remember to water it, it would perk up. I realized now that my sporadic watering schedule made the plant grow in spurts. I could not remember the name of the plant and decided to look it up on the Internet.

I spent a good twenty minutes searching the Internet and remembered that I had a houseplant book. A book? A book? What is that? The plant book still smelled like it had been in the basement. The pages cracked as I turned the stiff pages. It was as though they were asking me where had I been. I had also realized that the simple life I used to have also included reading. I found the species in two minutes. As a sidenote, this past weekend, I read more.

I now felt guilty that a once majestic 4-foot plant was now tucked inconspicuously in a corner and had just been reduced to four shoots. When I read about the plant, I really felt bad. I had neglected it for five years, yet it continued to grow. It didn't grow the way it was should have, but it grew none the less.

I went to my other plant, which is protected, well some times, because it is a hanging plant. I picked all of the yellow leaves off and watered it and made a promise to myself that I would be more diligent about taking care of it.

I will replant the other in the spring. I wish there was a plant doctor to tell me what to do with the massive roots that have it pot bound. I will figure it out. I remembered that I have a friend named Kathy Valentine, who owns Plant Professionals. She would surely know what to do. She provides live plants for functions and events. I wonder if she would think I was a bad plant owner.

When I do replant it, I will have the children there watching me. I will tell them it is important to treat plants well. I will allow them to feel the moist potting soil sifting through their fingers and allow them to water it upon completion.

I still felt a void. I wondered where the time went during the day and why I did not remember to water the two plants in a more timely manner. Life had taken over like an untended garden.

I was visiting a friend, who had a living room with several plants. I commented her on how beautiful her plants were. She told me that they used to look better but she had recently got two kittens.

On my way out the door, I pinched the aloe plant and rubbed the soothing juice on hand.

I mentioned, “I have only two plants left.” I stared at the aloe plant and I thought that if I did get an aloe plant it could serve as a replacement, well sort of, well maybe it would fill the void that I had.

As usual she read my mind, “Here take a piece of this.” She stuck her hand in the pot and pulled out a piece of aloe and put it in a baggie with some water.

I was happy with my aloe shoot. My conscious is not quite clear yet, but at least we have another opportunity to start anew with an aloe plant, and it's too small for the mighty swashbuckler, Amir, to conquer.

Maybe one day, when he has a cut I'll show him how to pinch the edges of the aloe's succulent leaves and use the soothing juice to heal.

On second thought, maybe I should just get a cactus plant, because they store water and no one would really be interested in touching it.

Being “stuck” with extra responsibilities won't make it any easier for me, because the bottom line is that plants like people need the right kind of care and it should be lovingly provided.

Sincerely,

Rina Risper

 

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