I bought it because of the name, Jade. When I was in the 6th grade I had a teacher named Ms. Jade. I had an obvious crush on her for most of that year. Ms. Jade was always kind and unusually passionate about the topics she taught, especially English. “These words are immortal” she used to say. “Every time we read from these pages we are bringing them back to life.” Everybody loved Ms. Jade and to this day I treat my books with reverence.
It was one of those thick grey north pacific afternoons. Spring had technically arrived but someone forgot to tell mother-nature. I was fresh out of college and fortunate enough to be living in a studio apartment on my own. The plant nursery was right around the corner from my place but I had never been inside so I decided to take a peek. A pale yellow sign that read “Crassula ovata” was the first thing that caught my eye. I leaned over the pots to examine the symmetrical leaves in further detail when a soft voice said “Jade…it’s a Jade plant.” My eyes shot towards the sound but my body continued to hover over the pots. The voice came from a pleasantly, weathered older gentlemen wearing garden gloves and a smile. “Jades are easy to get along with” he continued. I smiled back at him and scooped up one of the small clay pots containing a fresh looking specimen. I chose this particular Jade because it had a slight lean to it that I thought gave it some character. As I brought the plant to the counter to pay I kept hearing the man’s words in my head. “Jades are easy to get along with.”
I took the plant back to my studio and found a spot for her by the window in the kitchen facing the street. She remained there for the next two years. Her leaves developed a slight reddish tinge to their edges but she grew fast and strong. Over the next 15 years she remained a loyal and constant friend. She came with me to the east coast where I followed my first real love and a few years later she followed me back to the west when I returned with a heavy heart. I left her with a trusted friend during my two years abroad but she continued to grow, holding onto that ever so slight lean.
I used the cover of her foliage to propose to my girlfriend. We had been dating for almost two years and she knew how important my Jade was to me. We had been living together for the past six months and I asked her to “water Jade for me.” She had done this many times before and she knew to be careful when lifting the thick, overflowing leaves that lay at the base. Except this time, nesting safely under the branches, a silver ring etched with black details waited to be discovered.
We just returned from the hospital with our first child. I hope we are good parents. I hope I can be half the father that my wife will be as a mother. Our house is filled with toys that are too complex for a baby and clothes that are way too large for a 7.5lb angel. I take comfort knowing that my child will learn to play with those toys and grow to fit into those clothes. As I hold this little person in my arms, gently rocking back and forth in the soft light of the nursery, I take comfort in the Jade Plant that stands tall in the corner, leaning ever so slightly towards my child’s crib.