My son sent air plants with sea anemone holders for Christmas. The care of them terrifies me.
In the last five years, I have convinced myself that I have no business nurturing life. I have a porch full of succulents but those grow in California like — well, like weeds. I barely do anything. I glance at them as I come and go, thinking, I wonder if these need attention. I ignore the lime tree until June and then dump water on it every Friday without so much as touching the soil. Last year I got seven limes. The fifty-cent ice plant that I bought at Lowe’s my first spring here practically needs its own zip code. But I had nothing to do with any of that.
I’m not sure what my son was thinking. I can’t ask him. I have a general policy that when someone gives me a gift, my only response will be a heartfelt expression of gratitude. Even when I receive something which I later re-gift, I say nothing to the original giver except “thank you”.
The Etsy company which sold the air plants included a phone number to text for instructions. I tried it straight-away with no response. I might as well have been using a rotary phone. I went onto Etsy to watch the video supposedly posted. I couldn’t find it. YouTube had quite a few offerings. I watched four or five but my confidence stayed at zero.
The card in the box cautioned not to expose the little spidery plants to direct sunlight. “They will enjoy a two-hour soaking after their trip!” I did that. I ordered the right kind of food and stared at the little packet, a thin square inch which looked like a dime bag of cocaine, cost $8.50, and boasted that it held a full year’s supply. I spilled half the contents tearing it open. I sprinkled a pinch into a cup of water in the new glass spritzer which I ordered from Amazon. I move the plants from counter to table to step, depending on the slant of the sunlight through the large east-facing window. I put the little shells on a pretty pottery tray and fluffed the leaves. Occasionally I stare at the base of each one to see if anything has died.
I don’t know that I did a good job raising my son. Thankfully, he turned out well in spite of me. I don’t want to let him down again though. These air plants will survive. I consider them my chance for redemption.
It’s the twentieth day of the seventy-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
As long as you’ve gotten this far, I invite you to read my other post of today HERE.