Over the weekend Alex’s parents came to visit us in Grand Rapids. It’s not often we see them, and Alex spent the majority of the long weekend trying his hardest to convince them to move closer to us. We spent evenings out on the town finding hidden gems, eating delicious food, and talking. It was a wonderful weekend that ended even better when Linda and Greg gifted me with a gorgeous orchid plant. 
I may have went on a little too much about my newfound love of plants during the first days of their visit. They wanted to show their support and interest in my new love affair by giving me a plant Greg in particular loves growing. When I got this orchid from Alex’s parents it really meant something to me. It meant they cared about what I was into, that they wanted to support me, and that we had something in common. In-laws are hard no matter how good your relationship with them is and this orchid made my relationship with them just a little bit easier. It was an incredibly thoughtful gesture and although I’m terrified to kill this gorgeous, delicate beauty, I’m also proud in myself that people have confidence in me to not kill it.
Growing up and in college I was the typical plant-killing cliche. I over-watered. I under-watered. I completely forgot that I had any plants to begin with. I just wasn’t in the right mindset to be a plant mom. Plus I did understand just how important they’d become to my mental happiness. 
Once we moved into our first how it became obvious that the decor was lacking. We’re trying to build up a good nest-egg of savings and rather not spend it just yet on filling the house with furniture. But something had to be done to fill up the empty shelves. Plants. I already had one that survived the move, but it looked sad and lonely, so I bought another.
After a few months of gingerly carrying for a peace lily and seeing just how well it was doing, I bought yet another plant. And then another. Then three more in one go. Now I’m constantly telling myself to give it a few more weeks before plant purchases because before I know it I’ll be living in a rain forest. At least then no one will notice our couches don’t really match the decor…
Why does this matter at all to you? Because plants are important. Plants bring a little bit of the world outside, in. And on rainy, cloudy days with no sun in sight, that’s incredibly important. Plus having something to tend to, nurture, and take care of really does lift the spirits. Something is counting on you to keep it alive and that makes you feel a little more self worth than you did without plants. Plants can also store memories. The first plant I didn’t kill came from my grandpa’s funeral. It’s still alive years later and reminds me of him whenever I see it in the kitchen every morning. Now I have an orchid plant to remind me of my growing relationship with Alex’s family.
It wasn’t until the weather turned south this year that I realized how important plants are to my mental health. It rained for nearly two weeks straight and it really started to get to me. But all of the plants in our house brightened things up, gave me a calm environment, fresh air to breathe, and some perspective that the weather would get better. I can only imagine how much I’m going to need them in the dead of winter.
Without sounding too hippie-ish, nature is a part of us. So it only makes sense that plants brighten a room and improve a mood. Now to convince myself that I don’t need five more before winter hits…