A New Dawn

 We live within walking distance from our elementary school so I am able to walk the girls to class most days (assuming we get up in time) And along the walk we pass houses with rose bushes growing in the front yard - many just starting to bloom. Roses, while wonderful in and of themselves, are nostalgic for me - they remind me of my tenure as a stay at home mom. Now, we also pass rosemary bushes and they smell wonderful first thing in the morning too, but they aren't quite as symbolic to me as the rose bushes.

See, when I was home with my girls it was hard for me to adjust at first (okay, it still is somedays). And by the time they were 1 and 3, I struggled to find things to do that didn't require great amounts of effort (like dragging them and their toys and sippies and wipes and diapers and whatnot to the grocery store). Where we lived there wasn't much for moms and kids to do during the day (at least not in our area) and certainly nothing even remotely on the level that San Antonio has to offer. And with very few friends (most worked), I spent my days at home mostly - just me and the girls.

I'd always loved to garden so one spring I set out to plant lots of herbs and veggies in a dedicated area of the yard to give the girls and I something to nurture together. It was great fun and the girls loved digging and planting and watching the seeds turn into cucumbers and carrots. But I decided I needed something just for me as well. So I started planting rose bushes.

Finally I had something to do when I woke up each morning! With excitement and purpose at my side my days were now spent planning the beds, preparing the beds, researching which varieties to plant, scouring the local nurseries to find perfect specimens, ordering them online when necessary, and then when they arrived, planting them and watering them. And falling head over heals for them. At one point I ended up with 12 bushes including 3 climbers - and almost all were antiques and heirlooms. One of my favorites was called Katy Road Pink. It was named after Katy Road in Houston as that's where it was discovered growing. Whoever found it decided any rose bush that can survive growing along Houston's Katy Road deserves to be propagated and enjoyed by all. It was one of my most prolific bloomers.

I tended and loved this rose garden as if it were a dear friend for several years. In fact, it was a retreat for me - a way to escape and think of something besides laundry and dinner and groceries and sheets and floors and naps and potty training. It was something just for me. As the girls got older they learned to love it as well, especially Lyndsey. We would go out together every few days, her carrying a basket and me with my pruning shears, and look for fresh blooms to cut. You see, the more you cut the more they bloom. What a fantastic arrangement!

Every day for those years we had fresh roses on the table and by the window in the kitchen. I usually just cut them short and put them in coffee cups. Lyndsey's job was to help arrange them - and smell them of course! Such a variety of smells from all the different kinds. My Meme was often featured in her local paper for her beautiful roses. She was a master gardener and baker. I guess all the summers I spent at her house, if nothing else, set the tone for what kind of mom I wanted to be - or at least influenced the examples I wanted to set. Though no where near a master, I did thoroughly love and enjoy the time spent doing it - just as she did.

I no longer have my rose bushes. I brought several of them with me to San Antonio and they survived 9 days on the moving trucks and survived replanting after replanting. But life got in the way and after a series of bad luck with jobs, several more moves, and other misc. and time-consuming events, my last one finally died. An heirloom climber called New Dawn - a 'repeat flowerer.' Such a special little rose and tough as nails too - a real fighter. Like many of my roses, it was bare root when I first planted it, and by the time we moved, it had grown up and over a trellis my dad built. Pulling it away from its roots on moving day was an emotional challenge. I knew it wanted to stay but I just couldn't leave my New Dawn behind. And determined to please, it tried to adjust - but it needed vertical space I could no longer offer and had twisted and tangled upon itself. Once the sun vanished (and my dedicated watering) it finally gave up.

So while I was walking Lyndsey to school today, I noticed the rose bushes blooming along the way, wondered what variety they were, noticed they needed pruning (and noted my own desire to prune them). And remembered my time as a young(er) new mom. The days when I had nothing but time in front of me to raise and nurture young kids and young roses.

Now, with a new frontier on the horizon, and all the other time-consuming whatnots that go with having older kids, I wonder how I'll find time to rake the yard, much less tend to heirloom rose bushes. But I do miss having my little coffee cup friends scattered around the kitchen. Lyndsey asked me the other day when we were going to start our garden (after spying a package of loofah seeds given to me from my Grandfather a few years ago - one of the more interesting things we've grown I must say). Soon, I think. Soon. It's time for a Rosy New Dawn.

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