I mentioned before that my father had a strong negative impact on me. I have a lot of memories of different things he did or did not do. This one is what should have been a typical childhood chore but became something so much more.

My mother had a green thumb and our yard always had a huge garden and tons of flowers. As kids, we had to help out with planting, weeding, watering and picking everything.

We had what seemed like dozens of azaleas planted all over the yard. We had water hoses long enough to reach every corner, but when it came to the azaleas our father made me and my sister use a five gallon bucket to water each one. Every plant had to have the full five gallons every single day.

We hated this chore more than any other, so much in fact that neither my sister or I have ever planted azaleas in our yards as adults. It has been a running joke for years in our family.

Today while shopping I saw a beautiful pink azalea bush and had a moment of clarity.

I bought the azalea and planted it in my back yard. It’s going to be a symbol that I survived my childhood. It will get watered by the rain and if needed, by the water hose. If I thought it would live and grow in a five gallon bucket, I would have planted it in one to further emphasize my realization that it’s just a plant and I am becoming free from the emotional stress of years ago.

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