Monday, May 2, 2011

Rerun: Consider the POOR, ABANDONED Lilies

April 11, 2006

My mother received a peace lily as a gift many years ago, either as a wedding or a housewarming present—anyway, the lily is within a couple of years of my age. It’s enormous. Gargantuan. This is a plant that’s over 20 years old, over five feet tall, and has leaves you could use as small rowboats. And my mother, who anthropomorphises everything and panics at the idea of being responsible for something helpless and innocent, finally snapped after two-plus decades of watering this poor thing weekly and turning it to the light. Its presence in the living room just became too much for her.

Here’s what she did. She got up in the wee hours of the morning, muscled the lily out to the car, drove to The Plant Place at the other end of town, and abandoned the lily on the nursery doorstep, with a piece of paper on which she’d written, “Please take care of my baby.”

Now, of course, she’s wracked with guilt, as well she should be. I grew up with that plant. I moved army men and little plastic animals around in the pot and pretended they were in the jungle. I stretched out on the carpet next to that plant and did my schoolwork. That plant was as important to the house as the walls and ceiling. Okay, so by the time I moved out it had started to get so big that it was getting a little scary, but that’s not the plant’s fault. It did a very good job of being a plant. Lived up to its responsibility of plantishness.

My mother is afraid the nursery might’ve put the lily down. I just think it’s a miracle that both my brother and I made it to adulthood.

(Early Happy Mother's Day, Mommie. Sorry for the guilt trip.)

1 comment: