This was first published on August 14, 2012
I wake up tired and stiff. This is pretty much every morning. After a splash of water on the face and a toothbrush massaging my mouth I am ready to putts around.
I wonder onto my courtyard to see how my aloe plants are doing. Yesterday I took all the small aloe (babies) that were choking my large aloe (momma), then moved them into other pots. I left one small teenager in the pot next the mother as I felt she just couldn’t lose all her babies at once. To be more descriptive I must explain that these babies are all connected to the mothers root. You kinda crack them away and amazingly they all have roots attached to them after they are pulled from their mother.
This whole mother-babies-teens thing formed as I was digging and watering and moving about.
It was kinda sweet but I didn’t grasp the whole ‘life realization’ quite yet. I guess I needed a new day to open the door all the way.
So this morning when I putted about, I looked at the teen next to her mom and had a strong feeling she was ready to move on, so I pulled her out, one long root attached to her slender young aloe body…and put her in the crowded pot with her brothers. She felt very happy there, stood tall and all.
I went back to the mom to see how she was doing and I realized her root was short, stalky, and completely out of the soil. I thought this strange because I did not notice this at all when the teen was still attached. Yesterday I even added a bit of soil on top of her roots where the others were removed for root protection, so you can see I was clearly aware of the root.
I felt very connected to this momma aloe. Her roots were like a fish out of water, her life-line disconnected.
This too is how I feel. My body seems to be complaining a lot lately, everything hurts. Like the aloe, I feel as if I could shrivel up and die if I wanted to. Just leave my life-line and fade. But I don’t want to and this momma aloe does not want to either. It is calling out to me merely by the fact that I was called to pay attention to it.
Without hesitation I dug a hole in the center of the pot, taking one shovel of her soil to each of her babies. Next, I grabbed th
is massive aloe, being careful not to grab the somewhat thorny edges too much, and rested her upright. I pulled the soil next to her roots to give her support along with moving her close to the wall of house. Sometimes we just gotta lean on something or someone. She looked stronger but I felt her fragile state. She had grown out of her pot to accommodate all her children, now they were gone and she needed my help to put her back to her glory. A bit twisted, not the beauty she was in the day when all would walk past her and say, “Wow, this is beautiful. I have never seen an aloe so big and perfect.”
Time will tell how she will hold up on her own. Very much like how I feel. Time will tell how I will hold my own self up again.
Thirty plus years of mothering others, putting them front and center. My job is not done. My 18 year old will still call out when she needs me but it will be mothering from a phone, text, FB and Skype. No more knocking on her door to see what her day will bring, no more cooking with her or hanging out in her room, me on the bean bag and her on her bed. There will still be summers for a year or two but my daily job is complete. She leaves this Sunday. Five full days left. Five days she has to pack her bags to the gills and say goodbyes to friends.
I feel something big about to happen, I am excited, happy and sad, moment to moment.
Thank you Momma Aloe for showing me the way. I feel your soothing lesson. Your bravery will be my guide.
Aloe is one of natures most healing salves. Symbolically it will help heal the wounds of my empty-nest-heart.