For the last eight and a half years, I have been at war with my gardener.
He likes this particular kind of cactus that I find absolutely hideous. It's raggedy and grows like a weed, and leaves marks if you let it grow against the house. It has not one single redeeming quality.
My gardener obviously feels differently. So he'll plant it somewhere, and I'll ask him to remove it. And he will. But then he'll plant it somewhere else. And I'll ask him to remove it. And he will.
BUT THEN HE'LL PLANT IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Now keep in mind, our exchanges take place largely in hand signals and smiles and head shaking. He speaks more English than I speak Spanish, but we only have about twenty words in common, and most of them are pleasantries.
Well, a few days ago, I went down to my lower yard with George the stray puppy (who is still looking for a home, if anyone is interested!), and there, blooming off of one of the hideous cacti, was this:
I took this picture a few hours after a first saw it, and the flower was already closing up. By the next day it was dead.
The short version of this story is that after eight and half years of battling with my gardener, I finally understand what he sees in this cactus. And for the first time, I was glad to have them in my yard. (Although I hope I don't have to wait eight and half years to see another flower.)
The longer version of this story starts when I was in Minnesota.
I was feeling pretty hopeless and generally awful about the whole baby situation. And then, the day after I posted this, I was having dinner with my mom and aunt, and we started talking about jewelry. Eventually, the conversation led to my mom giving me my grandmother's wedding ring.
Now, my grandmother was a huge force in my life. My mom started law school when I was a toddler, and my grandmother spent a tremendous amount of time with me, going to the library, playing cards, taking walks, swimming in the pool at her apartment building. She helped pay for my schooling. When she died she left me enough money that I could move to LA without feeling terrified I would fall off the face of the earth. If it hadn't been for that money, I would never have been able to quit my assistant job and not work for the seven months it took WP and me to write spec scripts and get our career started.
This is all to say that my grandmother was a pretty cool woman, and I owe her a lot. Having her ring is very meaningful to me. I hope it's obvious that that's an understatement.
Anyway, one of my first thoughts, when I put the ring on my finger was, "Maybe this means I'll actually have someone to leave this to..."
Several days later, back in LA, my yoga teacher noticed the ring. She asked me if I had a fruit tree in my back yard, which, like any good Californian, I do. She said I should go sit under the fruit tree, and try to communicate with my grandmother to ask for her help on this whole baby journey.
It sounded like a great idea. If you don't know where the fruit tree is.
My poor fruit tree (which is an orange tree, to be specific), is in the the very farthest back corner of my yard. It's at the bottom of a hill and virtually inaccessible, unless you have four legs. Moose loves it back there. It's his favorite place to poop.
No way in hell was I going to sit under that tree.
Frankly, I almost never go in my back yard, anyway. It's beautiful, but it's down two flights of stairs, and I pretty much just let the dogs and gardener have at it.
Then George happened. And suddenly, I was hauling my ass down to the backyard, to the level just above the fruit tree, where I can see the branches and the fruit, but still can't sit under it. So I sat on a tree stump near it. And had a little conversation with my grandmother.
She didn't say much.
Until the next day.
When suddenly, after eight and half years, there was this flower...
I hope I heard you right, Gram, because if I did, there are good things ahead.