Steven is a fountain of material. One of the most fertile topics is that he goes on kicks. He finds something that grabs his attention and then, in typical driver style, he throws himself into it, full force. We’ve been through the classical music, the all-Jimmy Buffett-all-the-time phase and now it’s everything Country. I either like it or have learned to like it all, so no complaints from me. There have been clothing phases. When I first met him he was all about the unique and expensive silk ties and perfectly fitted suits which lead to the Tommy Bahama style that he still rocks when we go out. Somewhere down that road he took the fork that lead him to “Old Guys Rule” or LIVESTRONG tee shirts and baseball caps. Whatever…it all eventually ends up in the laundry basket, so it’s all the same to me!
The hobby kick is the one that gets expensive. The thing is, when he picks a new one, he gets really good at it, so it’s worth the investment. Obviously, the photography hobby now borders on professional. He loves it and it is a great outlet for him, so I’m thrilled that he’s put the money and effort in there. The orchids…now that was almost as expensive as anything made by Nikon. That kick started soon after we were married, 15 years ago. It was pre-cancer, pre-house and pre-”buy them at Home Depot for $12.99”. Typically, Steven is on to something WAY before it becomes popular. The good thing is that it’s way more fun to trend set, the bad thing is that it’s WAY more expensive.
Steven built me a little pergola off the back porch of our town house. It was a decking floor with lattice top that he bougainvillea-ed up to form a rooftop of blossoms. In the shade of our private Garden of Eden, he started the orchid collection. He read, he googled, he sleuthed. He learned about each of the different varieties as they became part of our collection. And then he watered, misted and babied the beauties, so there were always several blooming at once. It was breathtaking.
When we bought the house, one of the important features was the large back porch. It is a Southern exposure, but with a covered roof. We thought there would be enough shade and brightness for the orchids. So as we were moving, each trip carried an orchid, grabbed at the last second and held carefully by whichever passenger had an empty lap. And eventually I settled in with Steven, Alexis, Missy (the alpha cocker spaniel), Lester and Judy (Steven’s cockatiels of 10 years) and dozens of orchids that were known by their Latin names.
The new porch was great for our lives, the dogs (we got Zack after we moved in) and the birds, but not so much for the orchids. Too hot, too cold, to dry, too windy. They did okay, but they took so much time that this “hobby” was cutting into work, play and life. But Steven is not a quitter, so he just did what had to be done which meant more research, more paraphernalia and more money! Finally he started to build an orchid house, but it didn’t get finished because then there was the cancer. Always cropping up into one of my little tales. I hate it when that happens! And yet, even after it brings a flowery story (pun intended) to a screeching halt, just like Aesop, there is always a moral to the tale, so keep reading.
I’ve already admitted that couldn’t keep up with everything and had to let a few things go. I opted for me and the lawn, but I couldn’t totally give up on the orchids. So Steven and I decided that we would leave them both to God. The lawn turned brown because I didn’t have the time, energy to inclination to deal with the sprinkler system. So that was a no-brainer to turn over to the heavens. You water, Big Guy. I’ve got my hands full. Steven and I made the joint decision that the orchids were going to have to have the same fate. Of course he was heavily drugged and barely breathing when we made that decision, so I can’t really say that he had an equal vote. But, I want to think that I didn’t just throw his babies under a bus without his consideration. After all, they came from nature, so that’s where they should return. So the orchids went out into the wild, randomly hung in the trees and shrubs in the yard. Partially shaded and protected, lit by the sun and watered by the clouds. The end. No, not the end. Happily, just like Steven and the lawn, they’re still here.
Here comes the big moral to the tale. Steven babied the orchids at first just like I babied him when he was sick. And then, the time came when all were left to just ‘be’. It’s hard to let anything just ‘be’. Especially something you really love. You want to hover and check and feed and mist. (The “mist” one is for the orchids, not Steven) But you can’t really do that without:
- Becoming a GIANT pain in the ass
- Suffocating that which you love
- Driving yourself crazy
- Over watering or medicating (the “medicating” is for Steven, not the orchids)
- ALL OF THE ABOVE
Here’s the moral of the story…ta da! Lesson learned – you have to trust that you’ve done your best, made the right decisions and then in the words of the Beatles – “Let It Be”. Steven “be” great. So be the orchids!
So, I saw a pop of color under the tree the other day. It was one of the rogue orchids blooming, all by itself, with no coaxing from us. I moved it to the porch so we can enjoy the beauty. And when the bloom is done, it will go back to it’s little cove in the tree to rest up until next time. It will bloom again…just like Steven keeps doing.