Friday, December 31, 2010

The Allegory of the Oregano

I have really been thinking about this for awhile and glad I finally have the time to write it down. Thanks to my sleeping boys, I have the time.
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This past spring, I decided I wanted to be one of those super, do everything moms. After a trip to a farmer's market, I decided I needed to grow and use my own herbs. That lead me to keeping oregano, rosemary, and cilantro on my kitchen counter. I loved the idea of having green plants on colorful Fiesta Ware plates basking in the sun each morning.

This was not the life for rosemary. Within a month, she committed suicide. Any effort to revive her (including over watering, pruning, and wishing) failed. This left me with Cilantro and Oregano. They proceeded to become high maintenance. The more I tried to save them, the farther they plummeted to the brink of distinction. Every other day I had to move the kitchen cart they called home to sweep out all the leaves they shed. I read they instruction cards and googled maintaining plants. Nothing helped. Finally, I had to admit defeat. By this point, Liam was mobile and finding any dead leaves that hit on the floor. These two plants were becoming a part time job. Not wanting to toss them, I put them on a table in our unheated sun room. "Look what you're giving up," I wanted to say to them. "Fine. Stay here. You're going to live or die trying.' This went against everything on their instruction card. No direct sunlight anymore. No 68 degree temperatures. No daily checks of water. Here, they get water maybe once a week if they're lucky.

Low and behold, they're flourishing! It's been over three months that they have been on that cold table and they've never looked better.

I look and them several times a day as I go in and out of the house, realizing there is some sort of a lesson there. This lead me to think about many of my relationships. Once in awhile, when Liam is extremely fussy, I sort of give up, put him on the floor, and let him play alone. It usually turns out that that is all he wants. Mike and I often prefer doing things solo. Apparently, Liam feels the same way. Daycare has told me that although he is very social, he will sometimes play alone for up to an hour. This also made me think about my students as well. Sometimes, I think the best thing I can do for then is let them struggle. I need to remember the lesson of my herbs when it comes to raising Liam. Sometimes, he, too, needs to struggle and maybe even fail.
Now, my point to all of this is not that I may someday lock Liam out of the house on the sun room. Maybe I am over thinking my plants, but it seems they were telling me that I sometimes need to let nature take care of itself.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fish story we have. Leah & I killed 2 gold fish within days of vigilent care. John said I know how you can keep one alive, don't feed it as often as they say and don't change the tank like they say. We listened to him and months later we still have Flipper.