Real You: Chronicles of the travelling Wedding Plant

An added benefit of my recent almost two-week long Here, Home, Hope Book Tour was a stop back "home", in Columbus, Ohio. During a book signing at Loot, a great shop in happening Short North retail and cultural district, I was reunited with my Wedding Plant. One of my best friends, Kathy, had been watching over my precious spider plant for the two years since we'd moved to California. As she wiped a tear and handed over the 22-year-old spider plant, which was flourishing under her care, she said, "It's the last piece of you I have here. I'm really attached to her." (Kathy is on the right with my other friend Molly.)

It's easy to grow attached the The Wedding Plant, as countless folks have during the book tour. Here is its story: The wedding plant originated as a tiny spider plant that was part of my green and white wedding bouquet 21 years ago. My mother, an avid gardener with a bright green thumb, plucked the unsuspecting spider from my bouquet just before I tossed it per custom to all the single ladies.

Mom returned home that night, planted the little spider, and helped it grow for the next five years. I had no idea she'd even thought to do this. On our 5th Wedding Anniversary, she presented the plant to my husband and I.

Through the ensuing years - including four babies, two cats, three dogs, many jobs, snowstorms, two different houses, two birds, and all that life will throw your way - the wedding plant has flourished. Sure, some years it looked a little pale. Other years, it had offshoots galore, growing and thriving with gusto.

But most importantly, it survived. And with its survival, it became more than just a plant, it has become symbolic of the struggles and joys of a long-term relationship, of the need for its care and feeding, of the need to nurture and cherish it.

And that's why everywhere I went during this leg of the Here, Home, Hope Book Tour - from Columbus, to Cincinnati, to Louisville, to Nashville and Memphis, to Eureka Springs and Oklahoma City and Albuquerque - the Wedding Plant came with me. Literally, creating a whole new set of rules for travelling in the summer with the Wedding Plant.

Did you know it's hot out there? When travelling with a wedding plant it's essential to gas up only at stations with shade. For a lunch break lasting longer than 10 minutes, the wedding plant must come inside. When stacking the luggage cart for the night's stop, it is critical the wedding plant is nestled securely amongst the luggage. And during the drive, the wedding plant needs light and air and a protected spot in the back seat.

Seriously, it was almost as intense as travelling with an infant. (Almost.) In Nashville, the Wedding Plant enjoyed a view of the Parthenon, while in Eureka Springs she had her own coffee table. During a stop in Memphis my husband had a lunch meeting, so the Wedding Plant had to come inside Boscos, too. The friendly hostess took care of it while we ate. When temperatures rose to 109 degrees outside, but we wanted to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial, we took turns at the site so someone could stay inside the car, air conditioning running, with the Wedding Plant.

The plant may have saved us from a speeding ticket outside of Tulsa, as the Sheriff enjoyed the story and let us off with a warning. She survived the ghosts of The Crescent Hotel and the blistering heat of the Painted Desert truck stop. Most of all, she is now where she belongs. At home, and hopefully happily growing and thriving for another 25 years.