I don’t have kids yet. Partly because I am not ready for them at this point in my life (but then again when ever is one ready?) but I think to a greater extent, because they too are not ready for me and for the version of me that I currently am. Perhaps they will wait for the upgrade; Version 3.0 or whichever.
It’s a pity though because I have seen my friends get kids and also seen their lives change in the most part for the better. They are suddenly more responsible, suddenly more aware of the fact that they are living their lives for a greater purpose; one that goes beyond where to buy the next drink or when the next road trip is. Holding the fate of another life in your hands is no mean issue. It is daunting. It is life changing.
I have never been one to be told what I can and cannot wait for. So I decided to choose. I could wait for the kids but I couldn’t wait for the experience. I had to find a semblance of this feeling that I was missing out on. So I got myself a plant. Yes, a plant.
At the risk of offending some of you, a plant is a lot like a child. You sow a seed ( not so different from the seed that is sown in the womb…albeit less eventful and definitely less pleasurable) and watch it sprout and live and breathe and grow and be a part of what you have around you. Albeit it will never give you the same joy as a crawling, talking, laughing and intuitive child, but it comes close.
So on a random Sunday as I drove along Mukwano road on the way to my dad’s house (the irony), I stopped by a spot akin to a little man made jungle, complete with foliage and wild flowers of all form and colour. I had passed by this particular place numerous times but had only recently found out that it is a plant market of sorts. So here I was to check it out. The variety for starters was a welcome delight. Different colours and shapes and sizes. Yams and little palm trees. Creepers and crawlers. There seemed to be something for everyone. Making a selection was going to be quite the task, but i finally settled for one that I found rather interesting; it’s broad leaves I thought would give it an imposing presence in any room. The mosaic like shades of green that adorned them would make for a beautiful canvas. The only issue was the price; why do plants have to be so expensive? It’s not like the soil is made in a factory or that there is a bill for the sunlight in which they bathe. A tirade of complaints later and I still had to pay, but rather begrudgingly.
Suddenly I had my own “child.” Something I could nurture and watch with pride as it grew. I found it a home in one of the corners of my tiny house and gleamed with joy at the fact that I was finally a father; to Bosco. Bosco had come with strict instructions; water at least twice a week, expose to sunshine, do not box him into a corner; all of which I thought were straight forward. At first it was easy. I religiously tended to Bosco. Every so often I even shared a drink with him on those quiet evenings at home after a long day(a botanist had told me that beer would not harm him). We were bonding. I was happy.
As time passed by, Bosco grew bigger and taller and my attention towards him waned. I watered him less, pruned his leaves less and checked on him less.
After a while I realised his leaves were yellow. He had stunted and I had not seen any new leaves come forth from him. Bosco was dying and it was my fault. I had forsaken him. I had grown comfortable in his ability to fend for himself and what I had now in the place of a majestic flourishing plant, was simply a shadow of his former self.
This is a lot like how we treat our dreams, our ambitions and our plans. We pursue them with fierce devotion, nurture them to get off the ground, watch them grow from nothing and then suddenly stop. We stop doing what it took to get them there. We bask in the comfort of a job well done getting them to grow their first shoots and then put them in a corner and expect them to grow miraculously on their own. But just like Bosco, they get stunted at first then they wither away, eventually disintegrating from existence.
What is it that you hold dear to your heart? What do you hope to see but are yet to accomplish? Are you nurturing it to allow it flourish? Are you watering your plant?