The Money Tree

Sometimes my husband jokes around by saying my thumb is black, not green. He chastises me when I bring new plants into our home, he'll look at it, put his arm around me and say, "Do you think it knows its in for certain death?" He chuckles when my tomato garden produces cherry sized tomatoes rather than large, plump heirloom tomatoes. Yet every year, he applauds my efforts.

Plant effort number 876 was a money tree. Said to be one of the easiest to care for (I read: hardest to kill). I bought it at Ikea, got a really lovely ceramic pot, and a three wheeled tray, of sorts, to place the whole combination atop. It had a fighting chance after I did a little online study on how to care for the plant: let it dry out and then water it, don't put it in direct light. Check and check. Pretty pot and online advice aside, it was really starting to look pathetic, shriveled, sad. I hadn't come to terms with disposal of the once lovely, twisting plant until this morning.

I gave my toddler a bit of play-doh to mess around with. She had already combined the three colors into one, so I wasn't on "play-doh watch", I just wanted to run down and switch the laundry. I thought the play-doh would certainly buy me a little time. Wrong. From my post in the basement laundry room, I heard some pitter-patter feet, some closet doors opening, and then I heard the dog's claws merrily hopping around on the wood floor above my head. I walked upstairs and there before me were the remains of the money tree - scattered all over the entryway. Not a single twig or leaf on the stem of the plant, only leaves thrown about its soil.

My daughter was hiding in the closet. I said, "Hunny, what happened here?" She said, "I'm sorry, Mom." I said, "You know you aren't supposed to play with Mommy's plant. Its special to me." She opened the closet door and said, "Well, I know. I'm sorry. But Roscoe and I were just hi-hoing and hi-hoing. So that's all."

What is the proper response to this? I should have been angry and reprimanded her in some way. Though, part of me was kind of relieved the last-leg money plant had bitten the dust. A few months ago she told me she thought my plant looked sad. I couldn't disagree, but said I was trying to make it look happy again. Today, she took matters into her own hands, and tore the sorry tree to bits. All in the name of hi-hoing.

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