When we were younger my mom had a plant that was her pride and joy. I don't know who bequeathed it to her but it started out as a log a couple of inches long. It seemed like forever before a little sprout emerged and when it did Mom made us all look at it.
She took care of that thing like it was her 7th child.
It would take years until it looked like an actual plant, and if company came over and remarked about the small tree in the corner, Mom would spread her thumb and finger an inch apart and say, "I'm telling you it was no bigger than this when it started out. Isn't that right, kids"? And we would nod and agree for we daily observed its emergence and growth. Our Mom was the plant log doula.
My brothers liked to play hockey in the family room. They'd cut their sticks down and wrap the ends in tape, kneel on the floor and then whack a tennis ball back and forth between some nets that they had fashioned.
Mom and Dad weren't fond of this activity because it left black marks all over the tile from the taped-up sticks. They also weren't fond of their kids nagging them to eat dinner so when Dad got home and was enjoying the paper and a glass of wine with Mom in the front of the house, the boys grabbed their sawed off sticks and started playing hockey in the back of the house until it was time to eat.
One day they had a wild game going when one of them whacked the tennis ball and it sailed right into Mom's plant and broke it. A sickening hush fell over the family room. We all stared at Mom's plant broken in half like it had just been assassinated.
"Why didn't you stop it???!!!" Terry yelled at Jim.
"Why did you hit it so hard??!!!" Jim yelled at Terry.
"You guys are in so much trouble," I said with glee.
There was some debating and propping and trying to make it look better but there was nothing that could be done. The plant that had started years ago as a tiny log was kaput.
The boys went into the living room to tell Mom. I went along to see the show and to be the witness to the day that they were given up for adoption. Dad's face turned red which was never a good sign. He and Mom got up to look, the boys following with their heads down like some two-bit crooks busted for knocking over little, old ladies to steal their purses. I imagined how sweet my life was about to be in the big bedroom once the brothers were finally sent off to a new family.
When Mom could talk (and it was a scary long while before she could) she said the thing that millions of moms have said millions of time, "I guess we just can't have anything nice around here."
We replaced our couch a couple of weeks ago. Nice things and brothers do not go together.