Suffering from seasonal friendship disorder…

This past spring I decided to try something new in my garden and I potted some succulents. I suppose it wasn’t so much a decision as it was resignation that I had come too late to the gardening party.

When I went to the garden store in search of spring plants there was a distinct lack of variety. The problem was we had spent most of the spring in England and by the time we got back most of the bedding plants had been well picked over. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new and hopefully, low maintenance…succulents.

Usually I plant petunias and geraniums and marigolds, hardy annuals that can stand some neglect and yet still bloom like champs! When summer is over I unceremoniously pull the dying plants from their pots and toss them on the compost heap then dump the soil out on the old vegetable garden. I’m not much on gardening, but I like the effect the pots full of blooms give the yard in the summer.

Actually, I’m not much on houseplants either, but I like the feel of living greenery inside. I’m very choosy on the type of houseplants I keep. They are the indoor versions of my hardy outdoor plants – spider plants, Christmas cactuses, hoyas – all able to thrive in a challenging environment where water comes as often as it does in the Sahara.

So when it came time to tidy the yard and un-pot the succulents it should have been an easy process. Pull. Compost. Empty. And yet…I hesitated.

A dying summer succulent

I’m a houseplant hospice worker

You see I knew the plants could be saved – brought inside for the winter then returned to grace the garden again in spring. Probably not by me though, I’m a houseplant hospice worker – getting plants ready to meet their Maker. That’s why the plants I do have are seriously hardy, conditioned to survived Antarctic-like adversity. My hoya and Christmas cactus have both had near-death experiences followed by miraculous recoveries that are practically legendary.

But seriously, how hard can it be? People (again, not me) do it all the time.

In the end the optimist in me won out and I re-potted most of them and brought them inside. That was seven weeks ago.

Six of the eight plants are…still alive!

You thought I was going to say ‘dead’ didn’t you?! Oh ye of little faith.

Sadly, the two that are slowly transitioning to the Big Garden in the Sky, are the two I most wanted to keep alive. One isa beautiful, unique succulent with long, trailing stems and the other is a tiny plant of little yellow rosettes. Stunning in their perfect season of summer, they are lovely no longer and likely beyond my ability to save.

Sorry…not sorry…

I’d like to say I feel bad about it, but I don’t. I’m actually happier that I don’t feel bad about it than I would be if I had managed to keep those plants alive and thriving all winter long.

Are you confused? Don’t be. I’ll tell you why I feel good about not feeling bad.

It took me a long time to learn that some things, some people, only come into our lives for a season.

I struggled with friendships in my early years. It always felt like I was on the outside looking in, never belonging. When I was about 12, a new girl moved into our community at the beginning of the school year. Never before, and maybe never since, had I met anyone with whom I had such an immediate and overwhelming connection.

Sadly, it was also the shortest friendship I ever had.

A few days before Christmas, the house the family was living in burned to the ground and they moved away. I don’t think I ever knew where they moved to and I never saw her again.

That brief childhood friendship taught me about soul connections because there was no other explanation for the immediate depth of our friendship. It taught me that just because something is fleeting doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful or important or worthwhile.

I’ve had other people come into my life and leave again sometimes for perfectly acceptable reasons. But other times it’s been because I’ve made mistakes and missteps in a relationship. I’ve learned valuable lessons from those times.

A healthy succulent which is multiplying

It’s ok to let go

Have you heard the saying that people we meet are in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?

It’s ok to appreciate a relationship for what it brings to our life then release it when its time passes.

Some people are going to leave, but that’s not the end of your story. That’s the end of their part in your story.  Unknown

The first time a friend ‘broke up’ with me it stung. I turned it over and over in my mind trying to make sense of what happened and why I was being blamed for its demise.

The truth was I should have seen it coming. We were at a point in our lives where we needed very different things from a friendship. We weren’t compatible anymore, but there had been a time when we each leaned heavily on the other.

When I saw the situation for what it truly was I was ok with letting the relationship go. I know it was healthier for me because her level of need was beginning to make me resentful.

That said I am forever grateful for what she brought to my life. She was both a reason and a season.

I don’t know if my garden succulents will survive the winter. Those that do will have a place of honour in the front yard. Those that don’t will be released from the confines of their pots to resume their place in the life cycle of the garden. And I’m ok with that.

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One Reply to “Suffering from seasonal friendship disorder…”

  1. Since becoming a parent I’ve really noticed that the vast majority of my friendships do have a season. It’s the nature of the world now. Some friendships are online, but for others location makes a difference – it’s hard to maintain as close a friendship if you no longer regularly see someone. And I naturally gravitate to people who have something particular in common with me at the time. Those connections are deep, but don’t necessarily last. I’ve come to prioritise having good quality friendships rather than lifelong ones.

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