The first thing we learn about plants is that they require certain things in order to grow – air, water, light, and space. The same is true for people.

I completed a developmental psychology course this past semester which prompted a great deal of reflection. I came to a better understanding of myself and how I got where I am now.

The most significant realization I had is that there are people whose support was critical to my well-being.  I like to think of them as horticulturists – the devoted professional gardeners who helped coax beautiful things from the soil.bird-of-paradise-flower-1359718 My grandmother did a lot of planting and watering. She kept me while my mother worked. She taught me to read, write, and mind my manners. She also made me feel valued, accepted, and secure. She was always patient with me as I “helped” her in the kitchen – until I reported that I couldn’t find something she sent me in the basement to retrieve. “If I go down there and find it where I told you it was…”

My aunt was water and sunshine in my childhood, then became a landscaper in my adulthood. I can always trust that she will see the big picture, tell me the truth, and help me rearrange things appropriately.

the-enid-a-haupt-conservatory-at-ny-botanical-garden-bronxThere have been many others who have taken significant time to cultivate life in my conservatory: The Smith/Walker/Shaws, the Maidens, the Burkes, the Thompsons, the Washington/Turners, the Chamblesses, the Millers, the Crowders, the Stranges, the Buffords, and my friends from PBC, CBBC, NCCA, OCA, and Malone.

When I married my husband, I gained a new family full of people who have enriched my life and given my children their first friends – dozens of cousins. Although we have experienced highs and lows, and he has both driven me crazy and kept me sane, my husband is my favorite person.

Growth is a continual process. I am blessed to have friends I met decades ago, friends I met through work, and a new group of sisters who all contribute to the beauty in my garden.

 

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