So there are some things I do well, but keeping houseplants alive isn’t one of them. Maybe it’s that whole “need to water them” thing. I have a forgetful nature, and my plants often suffer for it.
However, if there is one I’m desperate to keep alive and thriving, it’s this lovely orchid, a gift from my eldest son, Jackson. He had the great good fortune to join his best friend, Wyatt, and Wyatt’s parents on a high school graduation trip to Hawaii this past summer. Hawaii! It was the trip of a lifetime, and yet Jackson took the time out to select this orchid, and send it to me to celebrate a milestone in the sales of my début novel, Once Upon A Wager. A milestone that was completely unexpected and a wonderful surprise.
But this orchid represents something far more important. Wyatt’s mother, Sandy, helped Jackson pick it out for me. She helped to arrange its safe passage from Hawaii to my home in Pennsylvania, when I’m sure there were far more exciting things she could have been doing on that trip of a lifetime. And when they all returned from the island, she and I talked about how quickly our sons had grown, and how it seemed impossible that our lives had brought us to this moment, each of us on the cusp of sending a child off to college.
Tragically, Sandy died along with her sister in a car crash one week later, the victim of a box van driver who fell asleep at the wheel, and crossed into oncoming traffic. She was a wonderful woman, beautiful and kind and ebullient, and the memory of her will always remind me that our lives are fragile things. Just like this orchid.
I keep it next to the desk where I am writing my sequel to Once Upon A Wager. I will keep it there as long as, God willing, I can keep it alive. A reminder to live in the moment, and love fully. Because every moment is precious.