Hidden Talents

Sometimes, people give gifts to other people that may not necessarily be the best choice for the recipient. The thought may be completely generous and well-intentioned, but sometimes the gift and the recipient are just not a match.

On Easter Sunday, my aunt brought Kidzilla a cute little fabric Easter basket that contained two tiny little flower pots with sunflower shoots in them.

Sunflower shoots. Real ones.

I have never been much of a gardener – either by talent or desire. These little sunflowers were doomed and I knew it. Kidzilla was enthralled, however, and wanted to watch them grow. Fabulous. We’re going to keep these things, water them a few times, they will die, and I’ll have a sad kid. You see, I kill plants.

But something strange happened…they didn’t die.

And so a few weeks later, when our shoots had doubled in size, it became clear that our little sunflower shoots needed more room to stretch. We went out and got ourselves some potting soil and a couple of flower pots.

Just before Mother’s Day, Kidzilla brought home a lovely little flower in a Styrofoam cup. You know the ones…everybody gets one to take home to Mom at some point in their primary school career. These sad little flowers that die by the Tuesday after Mother’s Day, right? But Kidzilla was so excited about her little flower that I figured we had to at least attempt keeping it around. Since we had the empty sunflower shoot pots, we moved the little bugger into a new home. He survived.

Somewhere in between the sunflowers and the unidentified white flower, two pots of Gerbera daisies came home. They were leftover centerpieces from an event at work and probably didn’t stand a chance anyway…why not die a pleasant death on our dining room table? I grabbed one for each hand and figured Zilla would love them for a few days. One died promptly upon arriving in our home. A-ha! I knew plants died in my presence. The second one, however, survived. Barely. And so by the first of June, we had sort of a sad and pathetic little “garden.”

Everyone has been living on our back deck – along with a few organic herbs we picked up and some pink petunias to keep that little white guy company. We have enjoyed taking care of them and watching them grow and bloom – much to everyone’s surprise, I think. What started out as tiny sunflower shoots and a sad, lonely petunia has become something even more lovely than the promise of those seedlings.

I’m really winging it with these plants and flowers. I have no real knowledge save a few trips around the Internet and a few e-mails to gardening type friends. I seek advice from those who know more than I do about these matters.

I do a little guessing and a little praying and try to figure out a little bit more each day.

I worry and fret about them. In the spring, I wondered if they were too cold…bring them in at night, put them out in the morning… Are they getting enough water and sunlight? Too much? For the last week, with temps soaring near 100°F and heat indexes even higher, they have been dry and wilted (so have we all). Will the sun scorch them? Will they make it through? Water twice a day when it’s this hot, a green-thumbed friend said.

I can’t explain this sudden and unprecedented success at growing things. Has something about me changed? Does Kidzilla have a magic touch that brings life to everything around her? Does having her around looking hopeful make me more careful to take care of these plants so she isn’t disappointed? Or does this Mom thing carry over from children to cats and plants as well?

I don’t know if it matters what the answer is or even if there needs to be an answer. Perhaps it is enough to simply say that for this, as for all things, there is a season.

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“There is an appointed time for everything,

and a time for every affair under the heavens.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

This post was previously published on The Meaning of Me and is republished here with permission from the author.

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