Mothers are like Roses
“Aren’t you supposed to prune this?” my husband asked, gesturing to the climbing rose, going on three years old, that is now almost as high as our house.
“Yes, I should,” I responded wistfully.
My ultimate goal is for roses of all varieties to take over my yard, crawling all over the house, gardens, fences, and other outdoor hardscape.
It is difficult for me to grasp the fact that by cutting back I will get more. When I see a new bush finally bloom forth its first rose, I know the best thing for the bush is to clip the rose and put it in a vase. But to take the one flower it has to show, seems to me like depriving it of its very rose-ness.
I do have one new rose bush, a miniature ever-blooming prairie bush, which has filled vases in every room of the house all through the month of June and promises to continue to do likewise for several weeks to come. Each small, delicate branch must have a dozen small roses. All I need is one cut and I have a bouquet to reward one of the girls for cleaning her room, or to grace the kitchen table, or accent the dining room.
It is obvious to the experienced gardener where I have cut ruthlessly. New, strong, lively red branches sprout from a once-delicate section of the bush. I can only imagine what kind of hardy plant will be coming back next spring in its place.
With my fingers carefully searching for a five-leaflet above which to prune, I think of how mothers are like roses, and God the gardener that prunes us.
Society tells us that our beauty has been stolen by pregnancy and childbirth, but in its place is strength and beauty of another, more mature quality. We give and give to our children, as the rose bush yields its flowers, only to be cut off. The fragrance and visual loveliness brings joy to a room for several days before fading away. A thoughtful person may harvest its petals to extend the flowers’ usefulness even further. If the stems had remained uncut, the petals would have eventually dropped, with no new flower taking its place.
Roses need food and water, but not too much. Too much food fries the plant, and too much water produces mold. Mothers need to tend to themselves, but not in an indulgent fashion.
Injuries must be mended by the gardener, so that disease will not enter the plant. Sometimes this requires further, careful cutting with a sharp knife, followed by a kind and careful looking-after. The rose must yield to its caretaker. We must yield to our maker.
Roses have thorns, and so do we. They are still considered the most prized of all the flowers, maybe because they are so difficult. An easier plant to care for might not be so highly valued.
“I am a flower of Sharon, a lily of the valley.” Song of Songs 2:1
Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller