When I tell people that my house is fully consumed with plants, there’s no way they can grasp the extent. I know I don’t have Seymour, but I do have my own version of Little Shop of Horrors. My house, my garage, and my front porch are completely overflowing with plants. Last week when I took my mom out to our garage, she keeled over laughing- for real.
I had told her about my overflowing cactus collection in the garage, but she had no idea the scale. My mom loved all the varieties and the ‘earthy’ smell it produced. I’ve never kept a plant alive in my life. My grandparents loved gardening and my mom inherited their green thumb, but somehow it missed a generation. I’ve either overwatered, underwatered, or didn’t pay enough attention to the soil. I haven’t been able to keep a plant alive, including a beginner’s herb garden that just sits on the windowsill.
My son has most definitely inherited their gardening gene. Combine that with his excellent memory and interest in everything plants and I have a house with excellent air quality, though sometimes a little on the swampy side. When you have a child passionate about something healthy, it’s hard to not be supportive or in my case a plant pushover. Every time we put a moratorium on plants, he finds another new variety that he’s just so excited about and I can’t say no.
I was so excited when he agreed to share his passion with the residents at the retirement facility I work at. I might be their fitness coach, but once a month I do a craft with them in hopes that they’ll see just how nice I am and want to come to an exercise class with me. Last month Zach brought in just a few of his plants to give a little talk.
Our craft was an upcycled jar with a succulent. Not only was Zach kind enough to offer his time, but he also provided the succulents and bought special soil for the project. It was, by far, the most popular craft I’ve done with that group. They all had questions for Zach. One resident brought down a plant from her apartment to see if he could identify it since she had no idea what it was. Of course, he knew right away and helped her re-pot it and gave a little artistic flair, if that’s such a thing in the plant world.
He was patient and kind and so incredibly mature. I’m his mom, so of course, I told him he needs to go to school to be a botany professor. It amazed me that in that moment, I finally understood why my house is full of foliage. It might not be my thing, but it’s his love and watching him with the residents that day made me forget about the different bags of dirt taking up one side of the garage or the fog misters in his room making our home feel tropical with the humidity.
I’m so thankful I have a kid who is kind and respectful to his elders, who has found something he’s passionate about and taking his own path to happiness. I will never forget that afternoon. It’s not like the residents will let me. They were telling me to thank him the following day, asking when he was coming back. A couple of them had me relay questions. I’m grateful he took the time to humor his mom with our project. I was so impressed with his presentation, how he engaged with everyone and how very professional he was. I’m grateful my introvert son volunteered his time to make some seniors happy. He’ll never know how much it meant to me.