Planting / Short Story

I have old, weak hands now. I still dig at the dirt with my old, weak hands. What else would they do? I was never one to sew or knit or bake. Oh sure, for my kids, I'd have baked them anything. But now? Now, my daughter with the bright eyes, she can bake like she's one of her uncles and so I leave the baking to her.

My Joe, he bought this land because he knew all I wanted was to grow a garden big enough to get lost in. I'm not sure if it is big enough quite yet, but the grands, they could get lost anywhere, so they say it's big enough.

Joe and I, we met in a garden. Well. In the gardening section of Home Depot. I had decided that maybe I should have gotten a cart after all, my hands overflowing my little plastic pots, spilling soil down the front of my t-shirt. Joe looked at me and asked if he could trade his cart for some advice on what to get his mother.

What did we pick her? I told Joe lilies, he said that lilies reminded him of a funeral and crinkled his nose. I said they reminded me of Easter and Joe smiled, wide and crooked and I think that's when my heart started beating again. We didn't get her lilies. A hanging plant, I think. Yellow-some sort of yellow flowers but my head was up in the clouds, I don't remember.

The kids who come to work here-they tell me their stories and half the time they start crying enough to water the plants. We talk, words over and over, and they learn how to care for something. I learn that my heart can grow bigger. I never thought it could grow bigger than Joe and my kids. Somehow it did, and the Lord smiled and me and said "I told you so" as He often does.

After we work, we have tea and look out over the gardens, long and fast and wide and the kids they talk some more. They never seem to know how to stop when they've finally found someone to listen. I don't mind. I can hear fine, even if my hands are getting old. My daughter with the bright eyes bakes cookies and cakes and breads and leaves them on the counter so we can have them with our tea. Some kids have never even tasted something home made.

I wanted to adopt. My heart wanted to. But the Lord, He told me over and over that it wasn't time. Kids walked in and out of my door and I wanted to keep them but He kept sending them onto something better. I would take a deep breath and cry after each one left, and Joe would hold my hand. Then I'd go out back and work in the dirt til I'd cried all I could cry and told the Lord how angry I was and then I'd come back into my Joe and my children and my daughter with the bright eyes would have inevitably made me something that made the world seem a little better.

The little rooms the kids stay in now, separate from my house. The kids are my adoptions. They stay and they plant something and when they plant something it takes root in my heart and I give them all the mother-love I've got left and that's more than most of them have ever had.


Popular Posts