Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Time for Replanting

by Danetta Kellar

The rubber plant in my dining room is reaching toward the sun this morning. Day after day I have walked past it, not noticing. When I brought it home the first day so many years ago, it was a small starter plant that I hoped would grow to fill the immense ceramic pot in which I placed it. Over the years I have pruned, shaped, watered, and fertilized this lovely little tree. 

Today as I passed through, intent on the busyness of the day, I stopped in my tracks. The tree was beckoning to me, imploring me to notice it. Large green leaves on strong stems reached upward, stretching in the golden morning light. 

It has outgrown its pot, I thought to myself. It cannot grow any bigger in that beautiful planter. It needs a newer, bigger space in which to grow.

The rubber plant can grow taller than a two-story house. We had one such tree in our walled garden in Africa. Its beautiful boughs adorned our windows at Christmas and provided a shaded refuge in summer. Inside its labyrinth our children played.

This small plant of mine could outgrow me, if allowed.

There is another plant growing in my home right now, one who has outgrown his pot much like my ficus elastica. He is reaching toward the sun, arms outstretched, growing strong and tall. 

I have realized with a start that my teenage son, the one whom I nestled so long ago within the beautiful vessel called our home, is outgrowing this space. We brought him home from the hospital years ago and surrounded him with Hope and Love, anticipating with joy how he would grow. And grow he has. Over the years we have watered this one with our love, fertilized him with grace, shaped him, pruned him. 

My boy is taller than me now. I look at him and I see my smallness. He is outgrowing me.

Why are we mothers always so prepared, so ready, so intuitive, yet so surprised when our children move into the next stage of life? How can we understand the deep mystery called mother love, that force which nurtures and cherishes, disciplines and shelters, holds yet lets go?

I will buy a new pot for my rubber plant soon. One with much room to grow.

As I search for just the right vessel, I will prepare my heart for another replanting. The yielding of a mother to the growth of a child, the releasing of roots bound up tight in the confines of her embrace, the exhilarating, excruciating freedom of letting this precious one reach his full stature.

For grow he must, and let go I must.

Do you have a story of replanting? Do share it with me.


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