A good portion of my immediate family is currently on a boat somewhere near St. Barts. Now, don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t like a little life raft that they fashioned together out of sticks and twine. It’s a cruise ship with multiple decks, pools, buffets and all that kind of stuff. So, it’s not like they’re roughing it or anything. But they’re all gone and have been gone since around last Wednesday. And I miss them. Even Cristy, my baby sister, who is totally the most spoiled out of all of us.
Greg, Zoey and I were invited to go on the cruise too, but because of money, inability to get the needed time off from work and wait, you want me to take a TODDLER on a cruise ship, there was no way we were able to make it happen. But that’s okay. Even though I’m sure my family is enjoying exotic locales and delicious food, swims with dolphins and dancing under the stars, I’m totally okay staying here in stomach bug and pink eye land (note the sarcasm). Seriously, though, I’m happy that they all got to go and I expect to see a billion pictures when they get back.
But I miss them. I miss calling my mom and asking her to go grocery shopping with me. I miss sending Cristy stupid e-mails while I’m at work and questioning Colleen, our family nurse, about the color of Zoey’s poop. I miss having long talks with my dad and the chaos of Colleen’s four kids. Heck, I even miss my brother-in-law, Seth, who can talk to anyone about anything, and Cristy’s Nate, who just sort of sits back and quietly observes. I miss my crazy, loud, sometimes incredibly frustrating family and I wish they would come home now.
Also, I don’t want to water Mom’s plants anymore. I’ve only had to do it once so far since they’ve been gone, but I’m convinced I’m going to kill them all before Mom gets back. I don’t have what you would call a green thumb. I don’t have any plants of my own because, frankly, they wouldn’t have a chance. And there are no carefully tended gardens around our house because we have two big, dumb dogs that feel the need to dig EVERYWHERE. I’d love to be into gardening and be good at it, but I don’t have the time and I’m sort of bad at seeing the difference between weeds and legit green plants that look like weeds.
My mom, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. For as long as I can remember, she’s had gardens all over their property–big lush sprawlings of flowers and plants and little gnome statues. She’s a member of the local garden club and has toured professional gardens and nurseries. Every year for Mother’s Day, my dad takes her shopping for plants that she will lovingly put in the ground and tend to until they bloom in beauty.
At our house, we’re lucky if we have time to mow the lawn.
So, kind of by default, I ended up being the plant person while mom is gone on this trip. She wrote down instructions for care of her plants. Water the normal ones every three or four days, the cacti only once (and don’t let the water fall right on them) and only give distilled water to the weird plant on the kitchen window sill. Wait, you have a plant with a special diet? How am I supposed to NOT kill that one? I let my kid eat an Oreo before breakfast–am I really the right person to take care of a special needs plant? But there’s no one else, so I have to soldier on.
Here’s the thing I didn’t know about my mom’s houseplants: she has a TON of them. Like, if my dad built a greenhouse for her, she’d have enough to fill it. Seriously. It took me ten minutes to water all of the plants (not including the cacti) and the entire time, I worried that maybe I was giving each of them too little water. Or was it too much? If I don’t give them enough they’ll be thirsty and if I give them too much, they’ll drown and die and I will never be trusted as plant caretaker again.
I used to be so good at plant care. when I was in first grade, I always volunteered to water the plants in Mrs. Pace’s class. I just had some kind of innate sense about how much water each of them needed. But I left watering plants behind as I grew older and somewhere along the way I lost my touch. And now here I am worrying about whether or not I’m going to end up killing all of my mom’s plants before she gets home.
Thank God they’re coming home in a few days. I don’t think I can handle the plant pressure much longer.