I've had several throughout the years, mostly those plant baskets that people send for funerals. They don't want to send flowers, because flowers die. Cut flowers are so ephemeral. They want to give a long-lasting memorial to the person who passed away. But they don't want it in their house. They want me to take it home and care for it in perpetuity.
Guess what? I don't need an increasingly straggly and forlorn looking plant to remind me of my loved one. I just don't.
My current Obligation Plant was given to us by the kids' elementary school, as a good-bye remembrance as our youngest aged out of the school.
It's a nice enough plant. It's just that we don't really have a good place to put it, where it will both get enough light, and not get knocked off of its perch. The obvious choice is the kitchen window sill. It's wider than all the others, and, as an east-facing window, does get some light. But the Obligation Plant's place on the sill was recently supplanted by a yummy smelling fall candle.
I don't want it. But it's alive, and I can't just let it die. That would be cruel.
And so, the Obligation Plant moves from place to place in our home, always in the way, while my resentment toward it grows.
I'm sure there are those who appreciate the gesture, the gift of the plant, who either cheerfully keep the plant alive, or let it die a peaceful death and then chuck it, with no feelings of angst or remorse. But I'm not one of those. To me, this plant is clutter. And clutter is my nemesis. But I also feel a sense of obligation to the plant.
It is absolutely not the Obligation Plant's fault, that it was placed here, in our home. How can I sentence it to a premature death? I can't. And that's the problem.
So, for now, the Obligation Plant remains, until such a time as I can get rid of it, one way or another.