Sometimes Warmth And Water Suffice, Sometimes It Takes A Bit More

There's a small red cyclamen plant on the island in my kitchen. My daughter tried to discourage me from purchasing it at the grocer's the other day when we were shopping, but I persevered.  I like red.  It is a cheery colour, full of life.  And those are pretty plants.  The leaves are interesting, growing horizontal like water lilies in the pond where we walk near the river.  The stalks of bright red blossoms rise above the leaves, pointing straight up.

At least, they're pointing up now.  They were sort of droopy earlier this evening, a fact my daughter pointed out to me with some degree of glee.  When I'd purchased the plant, she'd predicted it would die.  I vowed that I would keep it alive, and she gave me a very doubtful look.  Let us agree that I do not have the greenest of thumbs.  But I like a bit of colour in my life.  It makes me happy.  And I try to keep things going.  I know that plants require nurturing, but they are very quiet about their needs, and so I don't always remember to provide for them.

I try to be happy.  Years ago, I found myself rather depressed, crying constantly.  This happens when a woman has two small children and a husband who has decided he no longer loves her.  My mother told me I had postpartum depression, and said I needed to ask the doctor for some pills.  She based her diagnosis on an article she read about Marie Osmond, who had postpartum depression and took some pills and felt better.  My mother did not suggest therapy.  That is not something our family did.

I am a good girl, so I took the pills, but they did not really work.  Finally, I decided to start being happy despite not being loved.  And it wasn't like no one loved me.  Just my husband.  So I found joy in my children and friends and political activities and theatrical pursuits.  And teaching.  Work can bring happiness.  I read a story today about a fellow on EP, c4000, whose marriage was on the rocks.  It improved when his wife began to look for work.  He phrased it like this:
As I said earlier, I was not guilt-free in all of this. I admitted that. What I had a problem with (and what took the LONGEST to get out) was my wife acknowledging HER part of why our marriage was in the crapper.

Once that came out, things REALLY started to get better. The communication on my part. The actions of her wanting to stay married.
The actions of her finding a purpose in life (other than room-mate.) The actions of her getting a job and getting out of the house.


That resonated with me.  I can think of several men whose wives exhibit less than loving behaviour.  Some of them work, but many do not.  They are bored.  Deprived of mental stimulation, their spirits droop as surely as my cyclamen.  The good news is that they can be revived pretty easily.  Mine were.  c4000's wife's were. 

When my daughter pointed to the cyclamen a few hours ago, she had a triumphant look on her face.  "See?  I told you it would die!"  I grimaced and immediately got some water.  The poor thing looked bad.  I felt the soil; it was bone dry.  I poured water on it and waited.  About half an hour later, I looked at it and smiled. 

"It's perked up," I announced.  Now it was my daughter's turn to grimace. 

"It's still gonna die," she retorted.  "You'll forget again." 

Maybe.  It's hard work, taking care of something that doesn't do much except sit there and look beautiful.  But it brings me pleasure, so I shall try.

I remember another cyclamen, a really big one my folks had - I think theirs was white - that began to droop.  It wasn't because mum had failed to water it; she is very careful about such stuff, unlike her absentminded daughter.  It was because the furnace wasn't working properly.  We were visiting my parents years ago when this happened.  I was going to say I couldn't remember if our kids had been born yet when I suddenly realized that of course they weren't, because my dad died before any grandchildren were born.  So it was about two decades ago.  But I remember as clear as if it was yesterday how the cyclamen drooped, I mean really drooped as the house grew colder and colder.  We were there in the winter and it drops down to freezing now and again there.  We were all shivering like mad, huddling under blankets, waiting for the thing to be fixed.

My mom looked at the plant and said "Oh, dear, it looks like that's a goner.  It's frozen to death."  Soon, though, the heat was fixed.  The propane delivery truck had saved the day, because their tank of fuel had run out unexpectedly due to higher usage than normal over a colder-than-normal winter.  The cyclamen began to perk up almost before our eyes, the flower stems standing tall and proud once again. 

People need warmth.  We may not droop like cyclamen, but we droop nonetheless.  I've been without the warmth of a reliable mate for some time.  The key word there is reliable. He has been warming up even as I've been drifting steadily away from him.  He does appear to love me.  But his actions have brought instability into my life, and it is hard for me to trust that he will always be there when I need him.  When he drank the week I was down visiting my mother, I was reminded of that once more.  So while I appreciate the warmth he provides, I do not wish to rely upon it because his boozing makes me feel chilly.
milkynips milkynips
46-50, F
3 Responses Nov 28, 2012

Relationships need to be tended by both gardeners to ensure proper amounts of nurturing attention. Most die when neither tends or limp along through the efforts of one severely overworked caretaker. I have known marriages that have persisted with just one interested party. They are an exercise in compromise, only half fulfilling, but 100% sad. I don't recommend that half-life experience for anyone. If one can absorb the change, then make a clean break early on and start anew.

My house is covered with plants but it's me and not my wife who has the green thumb. My wife likes plants OK but doesn't understand my desire to not let them die in the winter time. The point is true, we are like plants we need the basics (Maslow) before we can go on to the next level ... where the beauty comes in.

Good old Abe and his hierarchy of needs. I knew that would come in handy someday when I was learning it in grad school. Where are ******* on that pyramid again? I always forget that. :-)

I thinks that's very close to the top right after eating!! LOL

without being nurtured and fed by others will always lead to a downfall in our state of well being. these only have to be small things a smile a wave saying hello. what we all need is some kind of self worth. how you achieve that will be different for each person. the only thing that is the same is that you have to be involved in life rather than sitting on the outside watching it go by. i understand it is not easy to do this but you have to think just one small step at a time rather than look at the mountain before you.

Yes, polly. Quite right. You're a smart gurl.

thank you mistress