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My mascagnia vine is carelessly throwing around its yellow-flowered beauty with no regard for propriety. It is also called butterfly vine because the seed pods open like fluttering butterfly wings. It has taken over an arbor, two fences, and several large shrubs.

There was a time when I worried the vine would not make it. Shortly after I put it in to twine around the arbor, a yard man cut the vine to the ground with a weed whacker. I was so mad I called and complained. The lawn care company offered to replace it, but I said no. I thought it might come back.

Under the circumstances it is hard to exactly summon up why I was so mad, and calling undoubtedly got me noted in the yard company’s book as That Woman. Fast forward several years to today when I have the world’s most lovely vine, completely recovered. My reputation with the yard company has not recovered so fully. They prefer to deal with me by text.

I don’t want to be the awful woman who gets all uptight about a service provider’s minor mistake. People who do manual work have it hard enough without the customers being picky. But I love my plants, and love is irrational, so I was irrationally upset when it got whacked back. It is not possible to always get everything just right.

To be clear, my aspiration is to be kind and understanding and gentle at all times with people and plants and creatures, but I don’t live up to my ideal. Neither can you. We are just not ever going to have to decide whether to throw our hat in the ring for sainthood. I am telling you this so you will forgive yourself when you are grouchy. You have no trouble forgiving me.

Your life is pretty demanding. If you respond in a way that later makes you cringe, you are not alone. Let it go instead of browbeating yourself. If you wish, share a cringeworthy memory to comfort other caregivers who hold themselves to impossible standards.

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