What am I looking at

The pandemic is hard on all of us, but what the heck was she thinking? I had seen an innocent little science assignment on the calendar, but when I opened it on the day it was due I discovered it called for a science experiment.

Any science experiment of my choosing. Due to be completed, documented and turned it

THAT DAY

You can’t spring that on me! Science takes TIME and MATERIALS. I had neither. We were on serious lock down so I couldn’t run to the store. And how was I supposed to choose which science experiment from all the experiments in the world? Lots of them looked fun, but none of them were fast enough or with the stuff I had in my house.

I was turning into a volcano trying to cope with this curveball. Maybe my daughter should have documented ME!

And then it hit me. My earlier self had solved this problem.

A few weeks earlier (TIME!) me and Veronica had planted flower seeds in some pots. I had her help me with the intention of having flowers at some time in the future Both pots had the beginnings of a seedlings.

Now to manufacture an after-the-fact hypothesis, write it up and turn it in! She’s practically a pro.

The point of the seeds, after all was to get flowers out of it. It was easy the first couple weeks, because it rained constantly. Then it got hot, and I’ve been tending my pots with daily doses of water.

I want those flowers!

We followed the directions, placing the seeds the correct distance apart. The result (as documented) was only one tiny sprout in each pot. That was sufficient for the post facto science project, but I actually wanted flowers. I scattered the rest of the seeds in each pot.

One pot kept just the one seedling. The other pot sprouted a few more. They are still only about 2 inches tall, but the one seedling is getting big.

Keep watering, let time and sun do its work.

That one seedling though, it getting big! Last week I even saw the beginning of a flower bud. And it’s not even June yet! Flowers are coming.

I’ve been checking even more often.
But something was bothering me. I googled the plant on the seed packet.

Uh oh

It looked nothing like the plant I’ve been tending.

For a month and a half I have been nurturing the growth of a weed.

This is embarrassing. Is this funny or shameful?

I can find a metaphor for anything, but this one seems basic: I’m an idiot.

Part of the problem could be blamed on the fact that I lost my job partway through. I was distracted.

But not really. How come I didn’t realize that this sprout had a very familiar leaf shape for so long?

I believed in the seed package. I visualized the outcome.

So much so that I missed the actual outcome.

Oh. That’s happened before. At that job I lost not so long ago. I was sure sure sure that my vision was going to grow and be realized. I would not give up.

And it’s happened before at jobs I lost long ago. I’ve been taking personal inventory of my career as I look for a new job. I do have a pattern of holding on longer than most.

It was a weed in the yard which looked EXACTLY like my precious potted plant. My story first was “I must have dropped a seed over there!”

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. I knew my last job wasn’t headed in the right direction. I gave it extraordinary nurture, but it was not the flower I envisioned.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. It’s just the nature of things.

I’m sticking by my weed now. It has a flower waiting to show me. I’ll let it bloom. And I’m gonna laugh at myself the whole time.

I hope I can learn to pay attention to what’s in front of me.