Jun 7, 2009

On Yellow Roses and Family Obligations

My oldest son did something especially goofy last night. After losing his keys, he decided the best way to get into his apartment would be to kick out his window, and in doing so, he managed to also puncture his leg with the jagged edge of the glass.

This necessitated a 5:30 am phone call to his parents, and my wife dutifully drove him to the ER. Luckily, he did not sever a major blood vessel, and after a couple of shots, an X-ray, and some steri-strips, he was discharged.

This, of course, is what families do for each other. The time to lecture him will be later, though more likely this will become a source of mirth at a family gathering: "Remember the time when ---- tried to kick in his window..."

While watering my plants later this morning in a sleep-deprived state (I had difficulty falling back asleep knowing my son was gouged), I noticed my roses were beginning to blossom. In particular, I was pleased to see that our yellow rose finally emerged.

This plant usually gives us a pair of blossoms each year: one flower in late spring and one later in the summer. The plant never seems to get larger, and a few times I thought it was dead, but it keeps chugging along with its simple two-flower output.

The plant also represents a piece of family lore, as it was my mother-in-law's favorite plant. She came to live in our house for a few years after a series of strokes left her paralyzed in her late fifties, and she loved to look out the window at this single yellow rose.

It never occurred to us to ship her off to a nursing home after the second massive stroke made her left side useless. This is what families do for each other, and though at times it took some juggling to make sure that she had someone home, we pulled it off, and I am sure our children benefited from having their grandmother around the house for a few years before her inevitable passing.

I like to think that the yellow rose is a reminder of my wife's mother. I am not one to suppose that she somehow lives on in the form of the flower, but if people think such things, who am I to criticize? After all, they could be right, and I could be a cynical existentialist; moreover, if such thoughts make people happy, perhaps this is a healthier way of thinking.


Molly said...

Sounds like something I would have done. They make it look so easy in the movies. Glad he's OK.
Beautiful rose. I've found my favorites are the plants I've acquired from someone else.

Middle Aged Woman said...

I think she lives on in your memories, and if those are enhanced by the roses, so much the better.

Anonymous said...

I love working with plants, too. I think it is--in part--because it is a reminder that everything is cyclical and connected to earth. And that blooming is still possible even after severe circumstances. There is beauty in tenacity--even when the facade appears broken.