They had tended to the soil as best as they could; watering, gently massaging the loose dirt into a firm and secure spot and even alternating the amount of sunlight the little brown pot was exposed to. And yet, there the two children stood, with barely a nub pushing through. The younger brother plopped down onto the ground, his lips pressed into a thin line. His sister, a mere fourteen months apart, rested her hands on her knees as she leant down to examine the pot.
“Where,” the packet?” she asked without looking over at her brother. The boy huffed. He stood up and walked through the back patio door. She rolled her eyes at the sound of her brother’s feet pounding against the floor as he stomped through the house. He came back with a ripped open packet of seeds. She plucked it from his hands and scanned the packaging. Her eyes roamed the front picture; a beautiful array of fluffed out orange and yellow flowers.
“Maybe we should have read the directions first,” her brother mused out. She audibly breathed out through her nose as he flipped the packet over and back again. Her brother walked up behind her and peeked over her shoulder.
“It said he’d only take six weeks!” he exclaimed. She looked back at her brother and smiled at the puffy- cheeked pout that colored his face. She rubbed the top of his head.
“Let’s ask mom,” she said. The boy’s eyes brightened up and he ran back into the house. She smiled at the sound of clambering before her brother burst out of the door with their mother right behind him. The young sister extended her arm and handed their mother the empty packet of seeds.
“Marigolds?” the mother muttered out. She glanced down at the pot that the disappointed children were huddled by.
“I think we killed it,” the sister said. The brother nodded vigorously. The mother smiled gently at them before walking toward the pot. She kneeled down and motioned for the children to follow in her motion. They all sat near the put as the mother gently cupped the small nub of a plant with the tips of her fingers.
“What do you know about this plant?” the mother asked. The siblings looked at one another before looking back at their mother. They both shrugged.
“I just like it,” the brother said.
“Yeah, it just… kinda stood out.” The mother smiled.
“Planting can be hard… I have an idea. Think of your favorite creative thing, like drawing or writing.” The children looked at one another, but nodded in affirmation.
“When you first tried, was what you drew or write the best you had ever seen?” their mother asked. The children shook their head. The mother smiled and pushed the pot closer to the sunlight.
“But when you let all of your hard work pour into what you’re doing, time and perseverance, your creative projects will grow.” The children broke out into a wide smile. The both prattled off hob prospects of cartoon animator and best selling authors. The mother smiled and pat the top of their heads.
“Well, you can possibly do those things. But lets work on these marigolds first.”