Turns out you can figure out a lot when repotting a plant. I'd started relearning the skill of looking after plants around the time S was born, and so far, most of them have survived. Though recently, a few of them have healthily grown into shapes and sizes that are making their presence a little bit awkward, so naturally, measures had to be taken.
As I removed the plants from the pots, I discovered that the roots had grown to fill the entire space, clenching on to every bit of soil, even leaving marks on the inner surfaces of the ceramic. I had to make the roots let go of the soil, had to trim away buds that had formed in the wrong places, and cut off branches and leaves that have extended too far. It was either that or risk the entire plant becoming unbalanced and topple every time the wind blows.
There are many ways to live a life, and it seems every way requires some form of letting go. I have roots in many places, I need to extend, but sometimes it feels like I'm clenching so tight the pot might crack; nobody can be in two places at once without the risk of falling apart. I used to think that one of the signs of adulthood was the ability to keep plants alive. I now know, it's partly about doing no harm, and all about making necessary adjustments to live with your decisions.
The bathtub was a mess by the time I finished, and the raw visible cuts on the plants made me a little uncomfortable. I returned the plants to their usual spots on the windowsill, and reminded myself that discomfort doesn't always mean destruction; it may also mean possibility.