Thursday, May 20, 2010

A rose by any other name


Thirty three years ago this month, my mother was walking and walking and walking, in hopes that someday soon, she would be holding her first child in her arms.  (I didn't get around to being born until the end of next month.  Tardiness, apparently, is a perennial fault of mine.) In the second week of May, the climbing tangle of green along part of her route changed, exploding into a cascade of pale-pink, almost sterling-hued roses. 

My mother cut some of those vines that May, took them home and rooted them in the earth beside their home.   And then, in my own good time, I, too, was born, took root, and my parents' little family of two became three.   And when I finally arrived, my mother named the rose, whose real name she didn't know, for me, and that is how it has been known for all the years since.


 I've never been back to that little grey house in Memphis, but I imagine if I did, the roses my mother planted when she was wishing for me would be blooming this May, too.    It's hardy stock, this plant.  My parents continued to root a cutting each time we moved,  planting it at each new home, retelling the story, when it bloomed each year, of how it and I came to be.

For all the years of my childhood, it was one of the markers of home for me.  And when Adam and I bought our first house, he built a picket fence around it so that we, too, would have a place to plant roses of our own.  When I left that house with my own baby in my arms, I brought cuttings with us to this home, where our family has become complete.  
I've learned in recent years that this is one of the most common specimens of climbing roses around.  It is called, by those who know roses, "New Dawn."

This weekend, we will travel to Chapel Hill to honor the short life of Hudson Lily.  I've started a little cutting of it to pass on, when the time is right, to our sweet friends, who will remember the second week in May for a very different reason.  I don't know if they will choose to name the rose for their daughter, or if they will want to keep it as a constant as they move through the years to come. 

But it will be there, if they do, returning year after year for all the years of their lives.

6 comments:

Joy said...

Oh Melissa, you should include this blog post with it if they don't already read it. How poignant! You've made me tear up, and I can only imagine your friends would be honored to carry such a special tradition in their beautiful daughter's memory. ((hugs)) for this weekend and many prayers still for Hudson's family.

Gremlina said...

i'm with joy. beautiful words, beautiful memories. your mom did a good thing, you are doing good things. your rose reminds me that beauty is more common than we know, if only we could all be like your mom & stop to re-plant the roses ;)

Nicole said...

What a beautiful story. I'll be praying for you all this weekend as you pass along these roses....

Courtney at Scattering Lupines said...

So sweet. And beautiful writing. I love the way you told the story...

Kelly@LifeOutOfDoors said...

I found your post from Ginny's garden - thanks for sharing such a great story. It attests to the power of plants to make us feel connected to the land and to each other.

Caitlin said...

Love this!