I have a Ficus plant which stands about 4 feet tall and sits in my living room. It was the kind of plant you can buy from a garden store, a bunch of green leaves stuck into potting soil and secured in a green plastic container about three inches around. When I bought it over twenty years ago, it didn’t look much bigger than a small potted basil plant. I watered it with love and put it on the kitchen window sill, bathing it in the sun.
Every time I look at it I am amazed it is still around, thick and lush and growing stronger every day, not succumbing to my ineptitude. I have never been much of a green thumb, and the only plant I have not killed over the years is this hardy warrior. In fact, my beloved just transplanted it from a large pot to the size of an outdoor trash barrel. It was time.
In 1985 I remembered showing it to a neighbor, so proud of myself that I had nurtured it to be about 5 inches tall.
“If you give it a bigger pot, it will grow bigger” she advised. “It just needs more room to grow.”
Cautiously and slowly, I transferred the Ficus plant to a larger container. It grew twice its size around the small stems in the course of six months. It seemed like it couldn’t grow fast enough and was making up for lost time.
My children grew up right along side this sturdy plant. They watched me as I tended to each, year after year, as I watered it with love. It eventually made its way off of the kitchen windowsill to a place on the coffee table in the living room, to an eventual pot on the floor. They and it survived transplants to different pots and different houses, each of them breaking off some of the leaves as they grew, but surviving the bumps and bruises which was part of their lives, growing into the sturdy trees they would become.
One of my sons is moving this week to New Jersey. It is a great opportunity for more growth and maturity, not to mention help in securing a better future for himself and his family. As sad as I am for them to all leave, I recognize it is the inevitability of the times we live in, the price of living a good life and just the adventure of starting a new life over in a new town, or exploring the unknown outside their own little patch of dirt.
I will miss them all, but I know it is time. My son simply needs a bigger pot in which to grow bigger. I have watered him and his siblings with love and they are ready to find their own pots in which to grow even stronger. Like my hardy Ficus, I look forward to witnessing when the next transplant will occur.