Planting Ourselves in New Containers

I have this plant in our kitchen that has not been re-planted in about 10 years.  It’s moved to different homes with us and yet, remained stagnant.  No room to grow.  Paused.  Not dead, but not growing.  I mean, how many analogies can I use in this post?

I always meant to get a new container for it to be replenished and given some room to stretch, but you know, life.  It has a habit of getting in the way of our growth sometimes.

Well, Sunday was the day. The day we get some new containers as we have a few plants that need replanting.

This one started out as clippings from my babes one year ago at the Botanic Garden.


Two little clippings have grown their way up to THIS.


Can you believe that?  And I’m just heartened that something is growing and thriving and requiring a bigger container that I had anything to do with, because, well, my green thumb history is not so stellar.

We’ve had so much fun this summer watching it grow grow grow and now we need to plant it in a larger container and groom it down for the Winter.

My boy came with me to Home Depot and as we were looking for containers, he kept saying, “This one is perfect.  I love this one.  Do you think this one is too big?” About a GIANT blue container that would take up half our house.  He was helpful and encouraging and looking for ways to be of service while we were there.  Like, how every time I turned around he grabbed a hose and pushing it around in a circle, he kept teasing, “HERE IS YOUR HOSE.  DON’T YOU NEED THIS HOSE? DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR NEW HOSE”, to make me laugh.  It worked.  Over and over and over.

We found a great container for the “fern” as he calls it, even though it’s not a fern, I can’t find it in me to correct him because of his favorite joke right now:

“What does a fern have in it’s house? FURNITURE!”

As we were finishing up, I saw the cute little containers that are just perfect for cute little houseplants and decided on the spot that these kids were old enough and responsible enough to care for their own houseplants.  He picked one out for himself along with a little blue container.  Then we picked a little plant with pink speckles for his sister along with a little yellow container.  That boy walking so tall with his plant in both hands through that store, well, he made me walk taller.  That giant container he found earlier wouldn’t be able to contain my heart.

It’s hard for me to give them the room they need to grow sometimes.  It’s out of habit and a need or desire on one hand to keep them little that I default to thinking they need more coddling than they do.  It’s unconscious because what they really need is some freedom to grow up.  I know and believe and support this.  They need to stretch their roots and grow without fear of impediment or risk of getting out of control.  Security.  Yet freedom to grow.  That darn roots and wings thing again.  It’s this constant battle to fight the instinct that tells me they are still babies.  They aren’t.  They are 3 year olds.  And they are capable of so much.  I don’t want them to miss out on any of it because of me.

I am letting them be little but also trying my best to encourage their freedom, even when it goes against my natural instinct to smother them with hugs and kisses 24 hours a day. MOM!  The more responsibility we give them and the more accountability they keep, the more mature they grow at a rapid pace.  I’m continually amazed at how much they can do and do well when given the opportunity.

Just like overgrown greenery, we all need to be re-planted in different containers.  They are thriving in their new preschool  and making new friends and learning new things and it is AWESOME.  Life is showing me continually through these children, when they grow, I need to grow with them.  Every evolving.  And isn’t that just entirely lovely.

These babes got their very own little house plants in their room to take care of all by themselves. Picked them out, planted in the soil, and watered with great pride.


We’ve come a long way from their room being barren as a jail cell.

A year ago they couldn’t be trusted to have anything in their room except for their beds.

A year ago we were cleaning poop off the walls and here we are today trusting them with potted plants to thrive in their care.

The best thing is, I have complete confidence that they will do a good job taking tender care of these new additions. They told me their room is nicer than our room now because they have two plants. They’re not altogether wrong.

If the container is too small, it crushes the plants spirit.  It feels stifled.  And if you get an over-sized container, it’s like WHOOHOOOO PARTY TIME I AM GOING TO GET OUT OF CONTROL, when really it just needs a little bit bigger container.  Like, safety within some boundaries with a bit more room to move those roots but still walls to keep them contained.

Birthdays don’t necessarily signify great change.  It’s the days like this that tell me how much they’ve grown.  How much I’ve grown.  Who knew we could learn so much from a $2 plant?  Those cute little houseplants won’t be little and cute forever.  They’ll be plentiful and dense and maybe even have some spiders or bugs.  Will we still love them as much? Will we do my best to keep re-planting them so they thrive? Oh you betcha.  For now though, they are still little and need lots of encouragement to grow.

There are a few spiders in our basement bathroom (spiders are our friends!) but these kids have a deal.  When one of them has to go, the other keeps watch of the spiders so they don’t crawl on them mid-stream.  It’s a really good buddy system, actually.

May we all continue to grow our roots with a container just large enough so we still feel safe.  May we all have someone looking out for spiders and watching our backs.  Everything we need to have in life can be metaphorically hearkened back to plants and roots and spiders and wings and watching out for one another and that primal need to feel safe and cared for.

When I went in their room this morning for good morning time, I heard first thing, “There’s no soil or dirt in our beds.  Can I hold my plant in my lap for a minute?  Good morning plant.  Welcome to your new room!”


The joke is that in recovery, people talk about getting a plant when you first get sober.  It’s a way to gain accountability and responsibility after many of us lost everything.  Then if the plant is thriving after a year, you can get a pet, then if the pet is thriving after a year you can MAYBE start to be in a relationship.  Well, I’m betting on these kids having a pet by next year.  That’s how much confidence I have in them today.  The relationship thing can wait a couple decades AT LEAST (WINK). I mean, I didn’t heed all that advice very well and I’m doing OK.  We are all learning as we go.  I’m in recovery and these kids are growing up.  Aren’t they kind of the same thing?  Aren’t we all in recovery from something?  How lucky are we.

See also:

Giant Backpacks on Little Bodies – Preschool begins!

Because Life is Incredibly Sad, We buy Tiny Bottles of Lotion

Everyone Thinks They Are Failing at Something


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