I don’t know exactly how old Minnie is. I know that we got her before we moved into our current home. And we’re living in our home for six years.
Did I mention Minnie is a houseplant?
I am a firm believer in naming plants and talking to them. And I am honest enough to admit that as the years have gone by and my life has become fuller, I name fewer plants and talk to them less frequently.
But Minnie is different. She’s been with us for a long time. Before we had two cars. Before we lived in a home with multiple bathrooms. Before we became parents.
I can remember my husband working late nights, me alone in our apartment. As I cleaned, I talked to Minnie about my day. I shared with her what I had done and what I still had to do. I complained to her when my husband left his dirty clothes on the floor instead of inside the laundry basket. Minnie listened to my rants of frustration when I just couldn’t comprehend why another piece of home theater equipment was purchased by my husband. Minnie was there for me.
I don’t talk to Minnie as much as I used to. But I smile at her, look at her with fondness, affection, and gratitude. Minnie has stuck by me all this time. She’s been there. She knows my secrets and she’ll keep them for me. Always.
What would Minnie say if she could talk? (Maybe I’ve watched too many snippets of Toy Story with my son that I am now imagining my plant thinking and talking). Does she feel like she’s been a part of our journey? A witness to a family evolving and growing? What would she say of the arguments she’s witnessed, the laughter she’s heard, the bouncy balls my son has hurled at her leaves?
In our first apartment, Minnie used to reside in our bedroom. Although Minnie now has a place of prominence in our dining room, she is still nestled in the same blue plastic pot with the scalloped edges that I bought at the 99 Cent Store, all those years ago. She is queen of the black, circular side table from Ikea. She sits beneath a copy of Van Gogh’s Cafe de Nuit; her leaves stretching up towards Van Gogh’s vibrant yellow and reaching for the light shining through our dining room window.
Not all plants “make it.” Benji is one such plant. Short for “Ficus Benjamina.” He was about 3 feet tall when we bought him. And he grew for several years. But he didn’t like our new house. Gradually, Benji lost his leaves and his life. And yet, I still remember Benji’s name and the story behind it.
Minnie is another Ficus Benjamina. But unlike Benji, she’s still thriving. And it somehow seems unjust that I can’t remember why she shares her name with a famous mouse. (We’re not Disneyland enthusiasts.)
What does it say about Minnie that she’s still with us? That she’s a “tough chick” as I like to think of myself (sometimes). That she’s stubborn, persistent, and once she finds a place she likes she’s in no hurry to go anywhere (me, most of the time). That she’s dedicated and loyal to her family (me, all the time).
Minnie and I - we’re in it for the long haul.