Miriam Bat-Ami

The Art of Tending African Violets

Sometimes insights into our relationships come late. As a child, Bat-Ami desperately wanted to be one of her mother’s beloved plants, and now knows she feared being rooted.

violetsWhen my mother would call me, she’d tell me about the things that filled her days: watching the sun rise over Montreal, carefully watering her African violets. Liquid had to be placed in a saucer under the pot so that the fragile roots could sip up sustenance. When my mother could call me — when familiar numbers had not yet turned into an indecipherable language — she would instruct me on the care of her exotic beauties. Don’t touch the leaves. They get brown when you touch. Before hanging up, Mom asked if I ate enough, slept enough, and watched after myself. She understood that self-tending does not come easily to me.

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