It was Valentine’s day and the first day off that my husband had gotten in about 2 months and our first time alone together in that time. He now worked nights, seven days a week. I won’t lie and say that I was adjusting well to his new job or that the changes were easy for our family. The children missed him at bedtime, they missed him tucking them in and giving them goodnight loves. Our second son was still distraught that his father had to give up being his den leader. Though I think the youngest two and I had the biggest adjusting to do, we had to change what we did in the mornings and afternoons and how we played in the house to accommodate this sleeping presence in our day.
And me, I felt alone.
I no longer had any time alone with my husband, when he was home and awake there was always at least one child awake with us as well. Quiet nights of sitting and watching tv, talking, being silly or romantic together – they were no more. I was left alone to deal with four children, a baby and a dog for all but two to three hours in the afternoon. I felt hollow, like a shell missing its soul.
But there we were, finally together, just the two of us having a date day thanks to my parents keeping all of our little ones. In the middle of that precious time together I started getting down again, realizing how happy I was getting to spend time with the man that I loved and how brief that time would be. We were at the bookstore, waiting in line to check out when it hit me. I was staring at the knick knacks and novelty items that keep you company and tempt you while you wait to pay when I saw it. There sitting on the counter was a shelf display of happy yellow boxes of tiny pots of seeds to plant. And there, right in front of me, was the last box of lavender.
I love lavender. I love the smell. I love the color. I love the look of the plant.
So, I grabbed one.
I didn’t immediately set the plant up. It found a home on top of the microwave, occasionally getting knocked to the floor or buried under bills. I wanted to plant it, but I knew, with that dark despair that always seemed to cloud me, that I would just kill the lavender. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of that. I couldn’t stand the idea that I wouldn’t be able to grow and keep alive that ridiculously over priced little flower kit.
Then my second son had a project for school – he had to grow a cabbage plant and see how big he could grow it by the end of the year. We are plant challenged at our house, with much love – too much – and overeagerness we always end up killing them. So, I did what any good parent would do, I googled tips to keep plants alive. The biggest tip that I found was to place the plant in a container that would allow water absorption and then to place that in a cup with water in it.
And it worked. We grew cabbage.
Then somehow we kept ending up with more plants, and we kept those alive too.
Our family started adjusting more to my husband’s new work schedule. We started to grow used to the weird hours and finding ways to spend quality and intimate time together during different times. We learned to cherish phone calls during breaks and the busy season has ended so now we even get some weekends together. We were learning to find happiness, joy and peace again.
In April I dug the poor lavender box out from where it was relegated to the back of the top of the microwave and I decided it was time. I was planting the lavender. I emptied the box and saw the tiniest most adorable planter. I read all of the directions, and I followed them, too. I wanted this lavender to grow. I felt so full of hope and delight that soon, I would have my own baby lavender.
Then nothing happened, and nothing kept happening.
Each morning when I checked the other plants in the kitchen window, I checked my little lavender planter, and each morning it was still bare. I didn’t give up though. I would refill the dish it was in when I noticed it was dry. I made sure that it got sunlight. Some days, I will admit, I did feel a little defeat, because maybe I just wasn’t meant to grow this lavender. It was stupid and pointless to keep this little pot of dirt sitting there. But I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away or to stop watering it.
I haven’t really looked at the plant in days. I just stick my finger in the dish to check the water and go about my things that I am doing in the kitchen. Today, as I was looking out the window at my husband getting ready to mow the yard I noticed something. There, hiding under some little bits of brown clingy to their tops, were a few bright green little sprouts. After a month of babying them, a month of doubting them and myself, and several months of agonizing over them, NOW I finally had baby lavender sprouts.