The week before last Christmas, a friend of mine from work asked me to take care of her Poinsetta plant while she was away from the office. I don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, but of course, I agreed to help out. After all, how much damage could I do in a week, right?
That week, I had my miscarriage.
Needless to say, I forgot about my promise to water my friend’s plant and e-mailed her as soon as I remembered my mistake. My note said something like, “Sorry I forgot to water your plant… but I had a miscarriage.”
In retrospect, I feel a little sorry for sending that note. I mean, I really don’t know her all that well. A simple e-mail conveying a change in plans and a heartfelt apology would have been more than enough. But I was feeling sad. I didn’t have my sense of tact. I wanted her to know there were worse things in life than a friend who doesn’t follow through on a promise.
Bless my friend’s heart, she took it in stride. The note she sent back was more than appropriate. A few lines about how sorry she was, a few saying she hoped I was feeling ok and then, almost as an afterthought, this: “Our Poinsettia is a little worse for the wear, but with some TLC I think it should perk right back up.”
When I finally made my way back into the office, it was clear my friend had been slightly less than truthful about the state of our plant. “A little worse for the wear” was a flat-out lie. That thing was not worse for the wear. It was dead. Or basically dead. It was four sticks poking out from the festive red pot and then eight brown leaves and two green ones hanging on for dear life. Sitting right there in the window by my desk.
I hated that stupid plant.
Probably for the same reason I hated it, my friend made it her mission to revive it. She pruned it on a regular basis. She hummed a little while she watered it. She rotated it in the window and said things like, “I think it’s looking better today, don’t you?”
I knew with my whole heart that thing would never survive. It would die. And until it died, it would sit there looking ridiculous. Sit there and insist on being a hateful reminder of all the pretty, fragile things I was incapable of caring for.
Several months later, I was going about my workday when I noticed something small but very important. A few, no several, new green leaves growing out from the sticks in the pot. They were by no means prolific and it’s still hard to say if the Poinsettia will make a full recovery, but there is one thing I know for sure…
That little plant is going to make it.