Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Parenthood? That Shit's Hard!

First things first. Ok, maybe I overreacted a little to my maiming of Terence. You're all right, Cacti are hardy things and even IF he loses his arm, I'm pretty sure that he'll manage just fine with one. I'll just have to get him a Disabled Sticker. At least it'll mean he can park anywhere he wants.

I do feel the need to explain something here though. First off, it was Beth's comment that made me think about it, or at least identify what I was feeling straight after smashing the poor kids arm in the window. It was probably the worst feeling I've had in a long long long time. Which when you think about it objectively, is pretty stupid. He is, after all, just a plant. However...and there's always an "however". I originally got him because it was on my list of 12 Things To Do Before I'm 30. I've always been shit with anything remotely connected to gardening. I've no special affinity to anything green, I don't really care much for flowers, and the less amount of "stuff" in my garden the better. So my aim was to keep something alive for at least a year. In order for me to do this, I had to have some sort of "connection" with what I was going to buy. The fact that, because he looked like a little willy and I'm a bit of a child at heart, he made me chuckle the first time I saw him. Immediately there's a bond there. He was no longer just a plant. Then I gave him a name. Which was probably the fatal flaw. As soon as you give an inanimate object a name, then you're screwed. Human nature decrees that as soon as you name something, it becomes much more than it actually is. Feelings are associated with it. And that's what happened with Terence.

Ok, it enabled me to find the motivation and dedication that I needed to keep him alive. Over time I started coming home and saying out loud "Afternoon Terence, how's about some fresh air?" just before putting him outside on the window ledge. He became my little plant mate. Personally, I don't think that's too strange. At the end of the day, I have fed him, watered him, made sure he's had regular light, re-potted him (a real first for All Mod Cons) and I've watched him grow. Albeit rather slowly.

Then through a rather stupid act, I shut him in a window. I felt like I'd killed a kitten. It was bloody awful!

But going back to Beth's comment "This is excellent prep for you for parenthood." Obviously I'm not going to say that having a plant is anything like having kids. If having offspring was anywhere near as easy as keeping a plant, then it would be a walk in the park. But looking back at my reaction, the way that I felt right at that single second in time, it's easy to see how worried parents are about their kids. You invest time and love in your children, it's unconditional. You go out of your way to make sure that they're ok, that they want for nothing, that they're loved and happy and hope that all that you give them is enough to prepare them for what life is about to throw at them. When they get their first grazed knee, have their first crush & have their heart broken, when they fall off their bike or lose their first tooth, parents feel it too. Only much more so. The rollercoaster ride that is parenthood must be utterly terrifying. And probably the most rewarding experience you're ever going to have. I take my hat off to parents because they're bloody amazing.

Ok, Terence isn't my child and I'm certainly no parent. But he is my little green buddy. I'm sure he'll heal himself (with a little help and a careful eye...not to mention the 1p piece that's currently holding him together because he's too small to have his arm bandaged up) and everything will be rosey. Or cactusy.

Being an actual parent? Sod that for a game of soldiers!

Bit of a weird convoluted post this, but hey. I'm sure there's a point in there somewhere.


Reeny's Ramblin' said...

I think it is quite normal to react the way that you have. You connected and bonded with the cacti (sp?), therefore, you feel bad when you think you have caused it harm - simple. I have back garden in my place and I feel horrible whenever a bloom drops off. I had sunflowers out there which a stupid squirrel took a fancy too and ate, imagine how that felt!

Crashdummie said...

I'm sure there is. Just make sure to let me know when u find it. till then, I'll keep believing i just wasted (or invested?) a prayer on Terence.

PS. Got curious, what were the rest of the things on the list u wanted to do before you turned 30?)

Beth said...

Perhaps that comment of mine was made partially in jest (but only partially). However, after reading paragraph 5 of your post, it rings true. You "get" it. You'll make a great parent. (To a bunch of soldiers???)
God bless your little green buddy and the 1p piece holding him together.

Princess Pointful said...

Aw! Daddy AMC!
This was a sweet post :)