What a temporary beautiful life they lead.
While Dorothy and I planted our spring flowers, we were talking about how short lived the beauty they give us is. We knew that the dozens of plants we planted over the weekend would take root, blossom, grow, spread out a little, give off their beauty for people to enjoy, enhance the beauty and enjoyment of our home, and then wither and die in late fall – all in a matter of months. But the beauty they provided during the time they are alive is well worth the effort of planting them, weeding, watering, and pruning. All the time knowing that they are doomed during the cold weather, and the cycle of planting and withering is to be repeated next year, and the year after that and so on. But this is what you expect.
But this year was different. Usually Dorothy plants with the kids and her mom. I generally like to watch from the deck, iced tea in hand. And it is hard work. There is no one to refill my iced tea so I have to keep getting up from my lounge chair and going inside to refill it myself while my family relaxes and enjoys bonding with each other and bonding with mother earth. But this year we did it alone – Dorothy and I. It was very nice, we talked about what flowers Andrew liked, what flowers Nicole enjoys; and how this summer will be different – so different than any other summer before.
It is just the three of us now. Andrew should have come home a couple of weeks ago. He should have graduated with all of his friends. We should have been proud parents watching him walking down the aisle with that amazing smile that he had on when he graduated high school. Pictures, dinners, hand shakes, and happiness. He should be going to parties and headed off for some well earned vacation with his friends. But none of that is happening. He should have called Dorothy for mother’s day, we should have be happily packing him up to come home to start the next chapter of his life.
But our plant is gone. The plant that we nourished, cared for, loved, and encouraged has been ripped from our hearts and our lives. When we plant annuals, we know they will die, we know they have a short life span – that is what we sign up for when we get them. But when we plant our perennials, we expect them to live, and to blossom and grow year after year – just like our children. And when that does not happen it is devastating.
Last summer, Andrew and i purchased a fire pit and set it up on the deck. As I mentioned in earlier posts Andrew and I had many fires there over this past summer. We talked for hours at night about school, about life, about hockey, about almost everything. It was the most amazing summer I had with my son in a long time. College really turned him into a mensch, and a person who I could talk to so much easier. He knew our time together was limited and he would soon be going back to Boulder, so he opened up much more this past summer. He told me about his school teachers in the Psych department that he respected so much, how they were published and how he read their articles and stories and learned from them – and most of all admired them. He found a goal and purpose in life and he was beaming with excitement to be able to graduate and become a therapist and help other people who had anxiety issues. He was such a different person than who left leave our home three years ago and go to college.
The fire pit is still there, and will always be there. It is known as Andrew’s fire pit. The two chairs Andrew and I sat on last summer are still there, facing each other, almost always empty. I bought several planters and planted different colored Marigolds next to the pit, it is Andrew’s garden. The Marigolds where Andrew’s favorite flower. I never planted flowers before, but I needed to this year, and probably for many years to come. I needed to do something for my son.
I sit there now, alone, looking at the flowers and the empty chair, recalling what we talked about. It brings a smile to my face knowing how happy he was, and a tear to my eye knowing none of those dreams will ever be fulfilled. How he found his place in life finally, and how he was excited to have such a strong direction in life. I sit and look at the flowers, and I know they will all be dead in a few months. No matter how much I nourish them, no matter how much I care for them and no matter what I do, they will be gone in a few months. It is such a vicious, heart wrenching cycle.