I cannot remember how many I have purchased over the years –
either as an adult or as a younger child with the help of my Daddy.
Pink ones, red ones, old-fashioned ones.
Small ones, large ones, fully in-bloom ones.
And always in correlation with the same holiday.
I would gleefully add a a pretty bow around the pot and present it to
my dear Mama.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Mama would “ooooh” and “aaahh” and go on and on about
how much she loved it.
And I would already start formulating in my mind,
what color rose bush I would buy for her the next year.
My Mama would plant the new rose bush with all the others, and
sometimes there would be two of them to plant if my sister had
also given one, too.
‘Cause Mama loved rose bushes. You could see it on her face every
year when we gave them to her.
Now anyone who loves roses and has rose bushes in their garden,
knows without a doubt, they require a lot of work.
A LOT of work.
Pruning and de-bugging and fertilizing. They are as much work as a
newborn baby in some ways. Their gentle beauty comes with a price.
Mama took care of her roses, because they had been gifts from her daughters.
Year after year, her rose garden grew.
Mother’s Day after Mother’s Day.
Rose bush after rose bush.
In my later adult years, as I walked up to Mama and Daddy’s house –
I noticed several large containers of Daylilies. Daylilies?
What was Mama doing with Daylilies? I mean, roses were her thing.
She loved her rose garden.
She loved working in her rose garden and caring for them.
“Mama, where did the Daylilies come from?”
“I bought them at the garden center today. Aren’t they pretty?”
(Well, yes, they were pretty but…)
“What are you going to do with them?”
“Dad made me a new flower bed to plant them in.”
“Oh… a new flower bed?” I asked, a little perplexed.
“Yes, behind the koi pond.”
“That will be pretty. I like day lilies.”
I still didn’t quite understand why she wanted a new bed, with
more work and care and gardening time involved, especially when she
loved her roses so much.
“They will be easy to take care of. They pretty much take care of themselves.
I’ve always loved Daylilies.”
And that is when it started making sense to me…
Tending the roses was hard work. Time consuming and sometimes
“thorny” painful work.
We lived on a large farm, and Mama worked just as hard as my Daddy.
And at the end of the day, after the work in the fields were done –
she still had to cook and clean and take care of her children.
… and her roses. Lots and lots of roses.
All of which she had not ever asked for, or purchased herself for that matter.
Roses which had been gifted to her by two daughter’s
(and sometimes a son) who were so happy to be giving their
beloved Mama something she loved – that we did not stop long
enough to ask her if she actually did love them.
Mama spent all that time – countless hours throughout the years –
taking care of roses, not so much because she loved the act of gardening
and caring for thorny bushes – but because she did not have the
heart to tell her daughters and her son that Daylilies were
her favorite flowers.
She could not let the rose bushes just die and fade away…
we would be heart broken.
And in that moment of awareness, I looked over at the Daylilies
and said…”where is a spade?”
“Why?” Mama asked.
“I want to help you start your new daylily bed.”
…and she smiled.
You know what I bought my Mama that year for Mother’s Day?
Nope, not roses. Not even Daylilies.
I bought her some new pink gardening gloves, a matching pink
garden spade and various gardening tools… and a gift card to Lowe’s.
So she could buy Daylilies or Geraniums or Daisies…
or whatever her heart desired.
Mama is almost 80 now, and her health doesn’t allow her to
do much gardening any more. The roses have been replaced
with easier-to-care-for bulbs and flowers that do not require much work.
I learned a valuable lesson about gift giving in general.
So now…I give my Mama a little something homemade –
made from love and from the heart.
‘Cause Mama says when you are her age, you already have
everything in life you both want and need.
When Mama said that to me recently, I hugged her tight and
kissed her still-smooth cheek and said…
“Mama, this almost 50-year old woman has everything she could possibly
ever want or need, too.”