I went to a greenhouse on Saturday. I love greenhouses. My mother and I are both like that--can't stand to drive by a greenhouse. She actually works in one in the Spring, and ends up bringing a fair amount of inventory home, thereby erasing most or all of her paychecks.
Paid in plants.
My mother is perfectly OK with being paid in plants, by the way. It's what she would have spent the money on, anyway, right? Mom now has her own greenhouse in the back yard of her house--she bought it from a friend of hers, and devotes a lot of attention to it. If you call my mother, she'll only talk about the weather in relation to how it is affecting her plants. Other than that, she likes to talk about....plants.
And I was just like her. Gardens, flowers, plants inside and outside the house. It just made me so happy to have things growing and changing and needing a bit of my attention to be their best, but ultimately doing their own thing. It's such a mommy thing, to garden.
When I was at the greenhouse, I felt like a fraud. I live in an apartment, and have no balcony or other outdoor space. I simply do not have all of the precious real estate that I would usually devote to plants (read: stuff to the rafters with all of the cool new varieties of plants I could get my hands on). I do have a lot of window, and I'm anxious to start populating the house with green stuff, but every time I go to look at plants, something awful clicks in my brain. I start to feel sad for the lack of outdoor space, or worse, think, "well, I shouldn't have that, I'll probably just kill it--I don't want to spend the money on something that I'm just going to kill" and I end up not buying anything.
Because of this temporary paralysis, my house is completely devoid of plants at the moment. It is a very strange situation. I don't think I have lived in a house without a plant in over 20 years, and that wasn't a house, that was a dorm room. In the past, I've had plants growing, even in the apartment that I figured was too dark for anything to survive, and I've had plants with so much sunny love that I couldn't stop them from taking over a room. I've rooted shoots in jelly jars on my kitchen windowsill; started banana trees from seed (for those of you in need of an exercise in patience, I highly recommend it); grew entire gardens from ZERO, babying little seedlings along with grow lights and food and all sorts of ridiculous attention; and spent countless hours in what I joyfully refer to as "yard editing", AKA weeding, pruning, rearranging, planting, digging, watering, raking, mowing, etc. All of this is fun for me.
But Saturday, while walking through the greenhouse, I happened upon a plant that I knew very well, called Lamium "White Nancy" and I had a bit of a flashback to my house in Duluth, where I used to live with my husband. When we moved in, there were no flower beds on the property. Clearly, the house had been previously occupied by space aliens. I mean, I actually called my mother and the first words out of my mouth were, "Can you believe this place has NO gardens? That's so weird!" By the time we moved out, there were 8 flower/vegetable beds, and a threatened 9th. There was also a composter, and a garage full of Yard Edit stuff.
The gigantic pine tree in our front yard also had NOTHING growing under it (I know! Unbelievable!), so my mom sent me that exact species, Lamium "White Nancy" in the mail, to plug in under the pine. It took off growing and tah-da! The ugly ground was covered, just like that. Through the course of a couple of years, that one plant that I got in the mail ended up filling in every inch of ugly under that stupid tree, where no other plants could even get a foothold. Beautiful thing, Lamium.
I became sad and angry, just looking at it. My gardens in Duluth brought me so much joy, and now they were gone. Just gone...another casualty of my marriage. Fuck...
You make choices in life, and, I made plenty of stupid choices. I chose, again and again, to give up things that made me happy, all in my misguided effort to keep my husband happy. I was so dumb. In the end, I wasn't happy, and neither was he. I'm not sure "happy" is something that he was or is even capable of, so, all of that effort was ultimate wasted.
Mental note regarding next boyfriend: Does he seem generally "happy"? Or is it always somethin'? Cuz I've done "It's always something..." "It's always somethin'" sucks the life right out of you--makes you stop wanting to, and unsure of your ability to, give anything, including care to a stupid plant...
As much as these little moments suck (verge of tears in a greenhouse...the happiest place on earth!), at least I come out on the other side of them, fully aware of what they are, and for that I am grateful. I just wonder how many more of these little moments there are left before I start to feel like myself again?