Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As a child, I didn't understand the point of flowers. You couldn't eat them, they didn't do anything, and I thought grown ups were overly fond of them. For instance, when I would pick flowers out of other people's gardens, my mother would be apoplectic. I didn't see what the big deal was.

My mother died when I was 19, and for many years after her funeral, I could absolutely not stand the smell of roses. I called them "funeral flowers." My mother's coffin was covered with a huge spray of red roses. I believed that if God wanted us to admire roses, he would not have covered their stems with lethal thorns.

My ex-husband used to buy me roses. It annoyed me. I finally told him to stop wasting money like that. If he wanted to buy me something, I would prefer he buy me something that lasted longer than 3 days. I was a very pragmatic drunk.

I think I got a bit more sentimental after getting sober, although I couldn't give you an exact time line. I know my next husband called roses "guilt offerings." He had such a bitter take on everything. He thought the only reason a husband would buy roses or jewelry was guilt. The first Christmas we were married I was horrified to find that he did not purchase me a Christmas gift. He explained that he didn't have any reason to.

When we divorced, I rented a beautiful little house that was over 100 years old. I was then in my 40s, and sober over 10 years. In the backyard was a climbing rose bush. It was covered with red roses. I loved those roses. Every Sunday, I cut a passel of them and brought them in and placed them in a vase. The vase was present on my dining room table all summer long.

When I bought this house ten years ago, my very own house with a little patch of ground in the front and the back for a garden - or whatever I wanted - I was thrilled. I planted roses. I started very conservatively, I was afraid of roses. I thought they were difficult to grow. But they aren't. So, I have added a rose bush per year for the last several years. And now I have roses.

If the economy were better, I would sell this house with all its roses and move to a condo. I am older and training for a marathon which takes every molecule of my energy. My beloved neighbor started mowing my lawn and doing all its upkeep about a year ago. I love her for this. I do still tend my roses, but I sure don't take care of the rest of all this greenery. Thank God for my neighbor.

I don't know that anyone is interested in my obsession with roses, but I don't have anything going on this morning and wanted to write about this non-topic. I think it is interesting that I hated them, then came to love them, and now I am willing to let go of them. I still love them though.

Sobriety is a lot like that I think. If you have truly put your life in God's hands, all manner of changes can happen that you never expected. You just need to be open to what God has planned and let go of what you expected.

It is good.


AnyEdge said...

I too have a complex relationship with roses. I wrote about it last year: my mother planted roses at my house against my will. I told her I didn't want them. I told her that I like my azealias. She planted them anyway. I haven't dug them up, even though they're yellow and the azealeas are pink.

I'm not sure what to do about them.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

:) This post resonates with me. My mom, when I was 14, sent a box of roses back with the delivery man who tried to hand them to her on her anniversary. She had been telling my dad for years that she hates roses. He just thought roses are an anniversary flower. That day I learned that she had divorce papers drawn up. They never divorced officially, just for a few years as they worked out their demons. I understand now what love really is. It's somehow finding a way through the thorns among the roses and continuing on the path freeing each other of the guilt and responsibility for our own happiness. And at the end, the roses smell better as they grow, and we can admire them more in the bloom and the fade.

Hope said...

My roses are just about to bloom here. DH picks me the first wild rose every year which was a few weeks ago.

My DD says she'll know she has a stable life when she plants a rose bush in her yard.

My favourite roses are pink.

Syd said...

We had about 25 hybrid tea rose bushes here but eventually the humidity and black spot got to them. Now we have the bushes that seem to thrive. And we have some old roses that do well. I don't think that I could live in a condo. It is good to have the open spaces here.

Lou said...

I don't have an opinion on roses. They are OK, I guess.

But the last three sentences are wonderful, and were good to read today.

Kelly said...

I loved hearing about your history with roses. Thanks for sharing.

I planted a pink knockout rose bush just outside my son's bedroom window, here at my apartment. Just because I could, I suppose.

"You just need to be open to what God has planned and let go of what you expected."

That is the brilliant truth, isn't it?

Pammie said...

I would know your table cloth and roses anywhere!