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How to Be a DiNozzo

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Chapter 16 – Plants – April 2029

Rivka helped her Ima load the new plants into the bed of Abba's truck. The two had gone plant shopping at their favorite nursery after deciding to add to the memory garden in the backyard.

"Ima, did you remember to get the fertilized soil for helping the plants we transfer adapt to the garden?"

Ziva looked up from securing the plants and decorations they purchased, "No, I did not. Thank you for reminding me!" She finished securing their purchases and headed back into the store for the special soil.

While her Ima went to the soils and fertilizers department, Rivka quickly slipped over to the garden decorations department. She made a beeline for the twelve-inch gazing ball that she and her siblings had picked on the website for a Mothers' Day gift for Ima.

"Hi, Mrs. Anderson," Riv greeted the one of the store's owners. "I need your help while Ima is getting some of that special transplanting soil."

"What can I do for you today, Rivka?"

The girl pointed to the gazing ball on display, "I want to get one of those gazing balls. We are getting it for Ima for Mothers' Day. Does it come with the stand?"

"Yes, and I think you've made a great choice," the woman smiled. She knew how much the DiNozzo kids liked to make their mother happy. "Do you want to get it today or put it on lay-away?"

"Can we get it in the truck without Ima seeing?" Riv replied. "I can fold one of the rear seats up and cover it with the blanket Abba keeps in the truck."

The store owner grinned and nodded, "I think we can; let's get the sale rung up and I'll get Billy to help you carry it out."

Riv grinned and pulled her wallet out of her pocket, "How much do I owe you?"

"With the stand, your total with tax is seventy-two fifty seven." Rivka counted out the money from the hundred dollars that she and her siblings had put together for the gift for their Ima. With the money she had left, they could also get Ima some chocolates and a nice card.

"Billy," Mrs. Anderson called to her grandson. "Please get one of the blue glass gazing balls with the swirls from the back and help Rivka get it out to her father's truck."

"Thank you, Mrs. Anderson. I think Ima will like it; it reminds me of the water in Haifa at the beaches on the Mediterranean. I hope it reminds Ima of Haifa also," Riv grinned at the happy memories from family trips to Israel and the beach at Haifa.

Billy put the boxed globe and stand on a dolly and followed the girl to the parking lot. Ziva was just putting the last bag of soil in the truck bed so Rivka motioned for Billy to hang back for a minute.

"Hi, Ima; I was talking to Mrs. Anderson," she explained to her mother. "Do you need any help?"

Ziva looked up from securing the last bag in place, "Jeff helped me load the soil; I just have to take the flat dolly back inside and then we can go home."

"Okay, is the truck unlocked? I'll wait here," Riv replied.

Ziva pressed the unlock button on the key fob, "I will be right back." She pushed the flat dolly towards the entry doors as Riv waved to Billy to come over to the truck.

"We gotta move fast; Ima is taking that dolly back inside and coming right out," Riv opened the rear door on the passenger side and found the lever to fold the seat up. Billy lifted the two boxes into the rear seat area of the truck and helped the young DiNozzo cover them with the blanket.

"See ya, Riv!" Billy waved as he headed back in the store as Ziva came out of the doors. "Bye Mrs. DiNozzo. Have a good day!"

"Thanks, Billy; you as well." Ziva climbed into the driver's seat and started the engine.

Once at home, Ziva backed the truck to the wide gate to the backyard. Tony brought the three garden wagons and the wheelbarrow along with the other kids to get everything unloaded and placed near the memory garden.

Rivka named each flat or container of plants as her siblings unloaded them; four flats of coneflowers, three flats of dianthus, two forsythia bushes, a young pussy willow tree, and six flats of strawberry plants. Ziva took over directing who did what in the backyard as Riv corralled her father and older brother.

"Abba, Anthony, I got the gazing ball we all picked out. It's in the back seat of the truck under the blanket. Would you help me move the boxes so Ima doesn't see them?" she motioned for the two to follow her to the truck.

"Zi, I'm going to close the gate and move the truck back to its usual place," Tony called out to let his wife know where he was going. She waved at him to let him know she'd heard.

The three hid the two boxes in the garage by putting them near the Christmas stuff, figuring that no one would be near that shelf any time soon. The family spent the remainder of the weekend working together to expand the memory garden and get the new plants in the ground. All of them were looking forward to having fresh strawberries in June and July.

On Sunday evening, Ziva went inside to start dinner as the others put garden tools away and cleaned up the yard from their planting. As soon as Ziva was out of earshot, Rivka got the family together.

"I bought the gazing ball we picked out online at the nursery yesterday along with a stand for it. Abba and Anthony helped me hide it in the garage. Do we want to put it out now while Ima is inside cooking or do we want to wait until Mothers' Day?" she asked her siblings.

Anthony spoke first, "We hid it by the Christmas decorations, so hopefully Ima won't see the boxes. I vote to wait."

"You know Ima guys, if it's a secret, she will find out somehow. She always does," Tali reasoned. "I vote for putting it out now."

LJ thought about his sister's comments, "I agree with Tali; Ima will most likely figure out or find the boxes and then we won't have a surprise any more. I vote for putting it out now."

Beth nodded, "I agree with Tali and LJ. What about your choice Riv?"

"I really like the idea of waiting until Mothers' Day, but I also agree that Ima will somehow find out or find the boxes. We can't slip anything past her," Riv gave her opinion. "I vote for now. Abba?"

"Is this the only gift you will have for Mothers' Day?" he asked the children.

"I have about twenty-seven dollars left of the hundred we started with; we each put in twenty. So we have money to buy something else closer to the actual day," Rivka explained.

Tony grinned, "Then let's get the gazing ball set up now and surprise your mother." The six went out the gate and opened the garage. Tony lifted the two boxes from the shelf and handed them to the kids. Tali took the box with the glass ball and Anthony and LJ carried the box with the stand. Beth held the gate open for her siblings and then relocked it after everyone was back inside the fence.

After trying a few different spots in the memory garden, the six DiNozzos finally agreed to place the gazing ball between the two rose bushes near the center of the garden area. They anchored the stand and set the glass orb with its blues and greens that reminded all of them of the waters of the Mediterranean near Haifa.

"Let's get Ima," LJ suggested. "We can blindfold her and then surprise her."

Tali shook her head, "Ima doesn't do blindfolds, remember?"

"I'll go get your mother, you kids wait here," Tony directed as he sprinted to the deck door.

In the kitchen, he moved up behind his wife as she stirred the pot of beef stew. "Turn it to a lower flame and come outside for a minute," he wrapped his arms around her waist as he spoke.

"Dinner is almost ready, can it wait?" she replied.

"Dinner can wait a few minutes, sweet cheeks."

Ziva chuckled, "Tony DiNozzo saying dinner can wait! Are you feeling okay?"

"Fine; just come on outside for a few minutes. The kids are waiting." He led her to the sliding door to the deck. "The kids wanted to blindfold you, but Tali reminded them…"

"I guess this is a surprise then?" she asked. "I can close my eyes as we get closer if you hold my hand."

He took her hand in his and replied softly, "I'd hold your hand anyway, neshama sheli." The pair walked to the back of the yard where the five young DiNozzos were standing in a group, hiding the gazing ball behind them.

"Surprise, Ima!" the five yelled as Ziva stood in front of them. They moved apart to reveal the glass globe.

Ziva stared at the gazing ball; its colors reminded her of Haifa and the beaches of Israel. "Toda raba, it is beautiful!" She hugged her five offspring.

"It's like the waters of the Mediterranean at Haifa, Ima," Rivka commented.

"Yep, it reminds all of us of Haifa," Anthony added. "We thought you would like it."

LJ grinned at his Ima, "And since that is a memory, it's in the perfect place!"