I came home from three weeks at the cottage to find nine dead plants, and several more on life support. Sad but not surprising considering The Girl, staying on her own for the first time, was the one caring for them.
It was my poor tomato plant that caught my interest most. It had been so promising when I planted the seedling this spring; bushy and bright with the tiny bulges of the early fruit. Tonight I found the stalks leggy and bare, the remaining leaves shriveled and dry. The whole thing was mostly brown but for a bright spot of red. There were three nearly perfect tomatoes just turning red. Deprived of water, the plant had given all of its energy to these little tomatoes, giving its own life force to help them ripen to maturity.
With this week’s news that my solo parenting adventures may now continue indefinitely, I feel some kinship with this poor plant. In an attempt to meet all my commitments and expectations my own leaves have begun to shrivel. With the summer daylight, bedtimes have extended later into the evening and my after bedtime activities like dishes and laundry have been delayed as a result. It is nearly midnight some nights before I find a moment to myself.
I’m the first to preach the importance of self-care for mothers, all people really, but it can be a hard sermon to live. A depressing lack of babysitters near the cottage has meant my ‘me’ time has been severely limited. As a result I feel as mentally dry and shriveled as that plant and there is no reprieve in sight.
This is usually the point in my blog where I try to find a lesson in my metaphor but my dry soil provides none tonight. For now, I’m going to find some olive oil and vinegar, see what little I can salvage from the dying basil plants, and enjoy the meal my poor plant died trying to give me. The rain, I’ll have to hope, will come tomorrow.