When we were first married, one of our petty arguments was about my fern. Ed claimed that I loved my fern more than him simply because he brushed up against it, and I told him to be careful because ferns don’t like to be touched.
The funny thing is, he waters our plants more than I do, including that fern.
I’m actually on my third fern. The first fern I had died when I lived alone and went on vacation. My fern languished away in my bedroom, forgotten by my plant babysitter. The second fern died because my mom gave me another fern, and Ed refused to let this be a two-fern household. So I put it out on the patio and it froze to death. It was on its deathbed due to neglect anyway.
As you can see, my new fern loves spring.
All three ferns came from one source: a huge fern of my mother’s. Her fern is the offspring of my grandma’s fern, and so when we were visiting them both in Iowa, I asked them about our ferns.
My grandma told me that her mother, my great-grandma, bought the fern at a dime store. She thought it was unusual since both curly leaves and straight leaves grow on the same frond. My Grandma became attached to the fern, and has separated it several times to give ferns to my mom and my aunt. One of her biggest wishes is that our fern survives and stays in the family, especially since the fronds seem to be unique.
I asked my mom about this. Why is this fern so important to my grandma? Mom thinks it could be because Grandma’s mom died when Grandma was six months pregnant with my mom. The fern is a connection between our generations. We don’t have family jewels, or old home movies, or a large estate. Not many people do. But we do have my great-grandmother’s fern, and my grandma’s memory of her mom.
My grandma turned 91 in January, and her memory is slipping away. Sometimes I wish I had talked with my grandma more often when we were both younger. The past seems more important to me now than it used to be; perhaps it is because I have children now, and I want to share their heritage with them.
Ed continues to water my fern for me. Without Ed, my family heirloom, my third fern, may have died months ago. Even though he says he hates my fern.