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My Father's Daughter

by Christina J

A cluster of 4 mango fruits growing on on a tree
Mango fruits on a tree

Most of my memories as a kid consist of me being around my dad. My dad pretty much sleeps, eats, and breathes plants. He would always tell me stories of how as a kid in Haiti he would watch his father grow many plants and crops. My grandfather was known for his many gardens and he would allow my dad to help him take care of the plants.

As my dad got older, he kept the passion for plants going. He loves spending time outside in the backyard. When people ask me how many siblings I have, I always say about 1 million or maybe more. The way my father would care for his plants, I most definitely believe they were not just plants, but his children that he loves dearly.

I remember my first-time watering some of my dad’s plants. He had just had surgery and could not quite move around as much, so I volunteered to take on this responsibility. Laying in the bed and hearing the eagerness in my voice, he smiled so wide. “Do you even know how to take care of plants?” he asked. With my hands on both hips, I responded, “of course I do”. With his eyes closed and shoulders shrugged, he said “well, everything you need is out in the shed”.

A smile on my face, I rushed to the shed to grab everything I needed. I dragged the hose to the area I wanted to start watering.

The backyard was filled with many types of plants, flowers, and trees. My favorite was the mango tree of course, and second to that was the aloe vera plant. My father would always cut the aloes in half to give to my mom. She would scrape all the slimy parts into a bowl and massage it into my scalp to make my hair grow nice and healthy because it was rich with nutrients. My dad really loved the bush bean plants. He found it soothing to pull each bean out and he would even have a huge bowl filled with beans all from a single bush.

I opened up the water hose and gently passed it back and forth over the plants. I remembered my dad saying to never overwater the plants. “You need to have a good eye for the amount of water you need”, he would say, “not too much and not too little”. I kept watering till I reached the other side of the backyard. “Not too much, and not too little”, until I was satisfied with the way all the plants looked.

Dragging the hose back by the shed, I washed my hands to go back to my father’s room, but I saw him sitting on the porch instead. “Dad you are supposed to be in bed!”. He smiled down at me. “I know, I did not want to miss seeing this”. The joy in his eyes, and confidence in my new skill, I couldn’t wait till he was all better so we could do this together.

Christina is from Florida.

Photo credit: Mango tree (Mangifera indica) from Wikimedia commons


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