I remember standing in that tiny funky upstairs hallway by the bathroom door. Tucked along a tiny wall stood my mother's ancient Singer, long since closed up, another victim of her cancer. On top of the machine rested a few straggly plants, including one of her beloved African violets.
My mother had a green thumb that rivaled any one's. She couldn't kill a plant if she tried...and she did try it with her huge collection of poinsettias, tossing them onto the edge of the woods. They bloomed merrily throughout the year, mocking her efforts.
But her African violets - they claimed top honors, flowers delicately colored, velvet leaves soft to the touch.
Dad wandered by, looked at me, and said, "Take them, please. What I haven't killed already, I will. Your mother will be heartbroken."
Both my sisters declined the offer of the plants. I sighed, knowing that I could probably manage everything but the violet.
African violets defeated me, going to their certain deaths, no matter how hard I tried. I read up on them, found the perfect locations with just the right light. I whispered to them, encouraging them to grow.
And they hung their heads in despair and just died.
Reluctantly, I packed the poor thing up, apologizing all the way home.
I just wanted to cry, certain that I'd be the one to kill off the last remaining violet.
So, I talked to my mother, telling her that we both knew I killed violets, and that if she wanted this to be a legacy of some sorts, she had to do her bit.
She did. Between the two of us her violet eventually needed re-potting, and it took everything in me to pull that poor baby out and put her into a new and larger pot. Somehow, we both survived, and she makes me smile each time I enter my studio.
It's been nearly 11 years now, and she's outgrown this pot, clearly showing me that I need to bite the bullet, divide her up, and place her into a few pots, since she's just about managed to divide herself.
I'm working up to it, and I think that when we return from the beach later this week, I'll get it done.
Are you with me, Mom? We've got a job to get done.