Remember Deb? She’s No Longer Cute, But I’m Trying to Love Her.



On August 14th, 2013, I wrote about Deb, my little succulent, and how much I love her and was glad to have something in my life that I could celebrate instead of myself. I purchased her a beautiful new pot, with colors on it and I’ve watered her once so far, just like I was told to by Karen the plant lady, her surrogate mother.

Since then, Deb has grown up a little bit. Her tender thick leaves have spread to the sides of the pot and show no sign of stopping. In fact, she’s in danger of outgrowing her $20 home. No longer  is she perfectly spaced and symmetrical – time spent growing in a room with uneven sunlight has left her looking lopsided and gangly and, dare I say, awkward.

Yes, Deb has reached adolescence, that unpleasant phase between 10 and 30 (in human years) when kids just aren’t cute anymore, when they don’t do everything you want them to, and when they grow too fast and occasionally break things.

I never appreciated how hard it must have been for my own mother to watch with horror as I transformed from a brilliant and adorable 2 year old with golden hair and an irresistible smile into a moody 14 year old that insisted on wearing clothes from Hollister and spent large amounts of time picking at her acne. All of the sudden, this precious child realized some things were cool and other things weren’t and that the uncool things were to be reviled and the cool things to be worshipped without reservation. All this is in addition to a strange propensity to wear the same sweatshirt/clothes for days on end and refuse to shower after working out before napping on the futon and soaking it with sweat. Yes, this was my adolescence and it wasn’t pretty.



Nevertheless, I believe my mother continued to love me though she cringed, and that is what I’m determined to do with Deb. I’ve already whispered this to Deb in the language of echevaria elegans, but I’ve translated it for the benefit of my human readers.

Deb, my succulent one, though I only adopted you one month ago, I feel now closer to you than I’ve felt to any other plant. When I first saw you, I knew you were to be mine and mine alone, with the perfect way your leaves extended and reached for the San Francisco sun. You were compact and adorable, and so I paid the 5 dollars and took you home where you now sit next to the globe.

Deb, I know you can’t see yourself, but you’ve changed. Your leaves have elongated and grown less even – part of you appears to be growing faster than others, and you’re lopsided and less attractive to look at. I could call you cute still, but it would only be a lie. Now you just look like a normal plant. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, Deb.

I know this is just a phase and that you’ll grow to be more beautiful than you ever were, and until you do, I will care for you just like I cared for you one month ago, just as if you were still the petite echevaria elegans you used to be.

And you will always be mine.



4 thoughts on “Remember Deb? She’s No Longer Cute, But I’m Trying to Love Her.

  1. Yep. The next step is offspring! So start cutting and spread deb around!

  2. lljostes says:

    My teen aloes are really going wild. What to do….what to do?

  3. tomwisk says:

    Emily, that was my mother’s name, you’re a parent now. Live with it. You parents had to endure some escapades on your part in your maturation, so just do it. Deb will be fine, so will you.

  4. jensine says:

    and grow deb grow …and maybe one day you will spread those leaves and fly

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