Let me tell you about an orchid plant. My mom brought this one for Charlotte on her 5th birthday last year, fully bloomed, the color of sunshine in June. The wonderful thing about orchids is how little maintenance they require at the point of receiving them - even with some haphazard (no) watering, you have a lovely arch or two of flowers for weeks. It’s always after the last one falls that I never quite know what to do next - do I let the small pot sit dormant with its few leaves and the now hay-colored stalks? And nevermind pressing the soil to determine whether it needs water; I’m still not sure how to read that stiff, rocky material around the roots. I confess, many gifted orchids have ended up back in the soil.
“Why’s he holding that stick, mommy”? Comes my three-year-old's voice from the backseat.
“Which stick?” I absently respond as I maneuver into the left turn lane.
“That one!” She says emphatically, pointing out her window. I quickly glance in my sideview mirror before making the turn and spot an older gentleman steadying himself on a wooden cane as he makes his way down the sidewalk.
My stomach drops - an odd reaction for such a benign question. After a rapid string of mental cartwheels, I do my best to explain that as our bodies age, they sometimes get weaker and we may need a little extra support to do things. And then, her reaction: