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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Russian Seeds of Success

I met Galina Nikolaevna on a sultry summer afternoon in the reception hall of the orphanage boarding school.  She was my daughther-to-be’s teacher, not an easy task instructing children of various ages who had lived through abuse and neglect, or simply fended for themselves on the street.  Mashenka was eleven and in the Second Grade through no fault of her own.

“Alexandra,” Galina Nikolaeva pulled me aside, “I have seeds for Mashenka to take with her to America.  These are from flowers in my garden that she has visited.  This way, she will always remember Russia and all of us with beautiful memories,” she withdrew several paper packets from her pocket.

I gazed into the squat and square grandmother’s warm eyes, squeezing her arm and uttering appreciative sentiments of my own.  Never had any of my children received such a nice memento upon exiting the orphanage.

“Balshayah spaseebah,” (many thanks) I uttered, assuring her that we would send photos.

Mashenka guarded the packets as I had instructed her.  We arrived home in early July, too late to plant them that year.  Eleven months later, she remembered the seeds again in late June, also beyond the planting season for our dacha location, but we let her ceremoniously rip open a couple of packets and tenderly place them in the ground.

June.  July.  August.

At last, we spied some leaves near the ground, but no stalks.  The leaves remained as autumn arrived, not growing and yet, not totally giving up on the idea that one day, they might.

The ground growth with small signs indicating the possibility of future flowers carefully mirrored Mashenka’s existence.  She was here, yet not always sure about any total commitment to bloom and to blossom.

Winter came, and with it, several heavy frosts and a dusting of snow.  The leaves remained, stubborn and steadfast.  They would make their presence known, but not promise much beyond the barest minimum.

Springtime brought surprises.  As the children planted the garden, they spied some growth.  Shoots were springing up, out of the ground leaves, as if to say, “I told you so.  I’ll simply take my own, sweet time….”

Suddenly, the stalks were growing like something out of “Jack and the Beanstalk”.  They shot up past Sashenka, and then me, past the other three children in stair-stp fashion, and finally bypassed Benedetto.  Buds and blossoms burst forth in the two colors planted long before:  reddish-pink and white.

They bloomed a couple of weeks after Mashenka’s 13th birthday, a difficult time each year.  Their meaningful message echoed from a marvelous mentor in the Motherland:  “Don’t give up.  Keep pushing upward toward heaven.”



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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. What a beautiful form of connection to Russia…I love it!

  2. avatar Kathleen says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. avatar Ann says:

    Thank you! We are waiting for our court date in St. Petersburg and my husband suggested that we bring Bluebonnet seeds (Texas Wildflowers) with us to give to the workers. I did not think it was a good idea because of the climate change but, now I know that it is a perfect gift.
    God Bless,

    • avatar admin says:

      Isn’t that a lovely idea, Ann-! Most Russians love to have a little patch of something–whether flowers or veggies, or preferably both. Seeds planted with hope have a whole soul of their own and will bloom sometimes no matter what the climate change, if ours are any indication. Keep us posted about your courtdate–how exciting!

  4. avatar Phyllis says:

    Oh, that is so special! And what a beautiful metaphore! The flowers are lovely, and so is your daughter.

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