Monday, March 3, 2014

Rich and Spoiled

That's me.  

Not in the Kardashian way, and I'm happy to report I am only vaguely familiar with them, have never watched their television show, which I gather the plot consists of obscene flaunting of material wealth and excess in all categories.  

Surely I'm not the only person 50+ years of age who gets excited when Big Lots has their 20% off everything sale!  My sweet husband and I went there yesterday and bought sixteen bare root roses for a total of $36.00.  For less than the cost of a dozen roses on Valentine's Day, I'm going to have a rose garden.  Suddenly I have been made a very rich woman!

I wasn't too selective, couldn't be really, but chose all the roses which had signs of new growth, and ended up with a variety I intend to label before planting.  I asked my husband only one more thing, to tell me where he stored some five gallon plastic buckets we have so I could soak the roses in them.

This morning, after baking banana muffins, loading and running the dishwasher, feeding the dog, cat and birds, then piddling on Facebook, I went to get on some grubbies to play in the dirt.  I walk into the master bedroom, which has three vertically long windows, and see this:  

On the right hand side of this picture, the white rectangle on the fence is a piece of lattice on which climbs seven sisters roses rooted from a great-aunt's garden.  Hers came from my great-grandparents' farm, my kind of heirloom.

Tears promptly filled my eyes.

Yesterday my sweet husband asked me if I wanted him to put down the material which keeps weeds down, and I said, no, I didn't want to bother him with this, it was enough he bought the roses.  It is hard for me to say I now have more free time than ever in my life when I am aware how many obligations so many others have.

I've lived that season as well, a former card carrying member of the sandwich generation.  There were many days of my life which were scheduled in this manner:

  • get up and get kids ready for school
  • throw in a load of laundry, then quick pick up of household
  • go to my mother's and do the same at her house
  • take her to the doctor or grocery store or both
  • pick up kids, then go back to doctor's office to pick up mother
  • (kids would do homework in doctor's office)
  • somewhere between all this, work a little job as a book vendor
  • gave up substituting job at the kids' school, had to leave it too many times to take mother to emergency room
  • take her home, settle her in from doctor/ER/grocery store
  • go home, prepare for ball games of the season
  • make supper, clean up
  • fall in bed exhausted, slept well, thankfully, save for the times I would take my mother to the emergency room in the night
  • get up the next morning and do it all again
  • in the midst of all this, I wrote a newspaper column for 12 years and was doing preliminary work on a book
  • and when I thought this season of life was winding down, I found myself in a care giving role to an older brother who was dying
I am not someone who prides myself on being a human-doing.  I believe everyone should carve out time to be, to think, meditate, and ponder.  I also realize this is close to impossible in some seasons of life.  

I didn't do all the aforementioned single-handedly; enormous credit is due my loving husband who pitched in above and beyond what any spouse could desire.  As is said about the time our children are babies, these days were long, but the years were short.  Suddenly, it seemed, I was/am looking for things to fill my time.

Each day is not pre-filled for me and I must give thought to what I'd like to do that is of some value.  In the crazy-busy days, the value was always present--what higher calling than raising children and seeing to the needs of the elderly and sick?  And I'm living a season in life now so many long for, having enough time in the day to do what one wants without being rushed.  

There was another season in life which was completely opposite the crazy-busy days, interminably slow to me, growing up.  

As a child, I'd gaze out the window of my elementary school classroom, longing to be there instead of confined to a desk which was no different to me than a chain and shackles.  It took decades, but that dream came true.  

Along with another, a rose garden.

No doubt most people thought that the roses which grew alongside the carport of my childhood home were the work of the women of the house, my grandmother AKA Grannie, or my mother.  That assumption would be wrong. The roses were my father's joy, a man with brawny biceps, around six feet tall, whose life's work included driving a gasoline tanker, working in a pit crew at races, butchering meat on the weekends, and running a gas station while working as a mechanic, chain-smoking all the while.

Those roses smelled a lot better than Daddy's second-hand cigarette smoke!  And they were lovely, delicate, what a contrast to a man with deep brown skin and equally deep furrows in his forehead.  I didn't know their Latin names, didn't know they had Latin names, but to me they were red velvet, yellow with a pink-tinged edge, pink, white, all more beautiful than my senses could contain.  Back in the day, I stopped and smelled the roses nearly every day they were in bloom, full-on face plant, breathing in as much as my little lungs would hold.  

With any luck, I'll eventually be inhaling heaven sent scents.  I have neither the knowledge nor the intent of becoming a pissy rose gardener.  My late mother once told me about a woman who grew roses who was so afraid someone would root one of her roses, she'd gather and discard the clippings.  I simply want to enjoy my Big Lots roses in my own wrong-side-of-town manner.   

God created these lovely plants, and He is giving me the joy now of oversight and arrangement.  Mr. A has demonstrated great faith in me, he who once quipped my black thumb had evolved to brown, lovingly doing the harder work of preparing the soil.  

I sometimes wish he understood that I want to do those more taxing jobs, that I have time to do them, but I must appreciate how rich in love and spoiled by chivalry I am.  

I was never promised a rose garden in this life, but it seems the good Lord, in His awesomely perfect timing, has brought me a second one to enjoy in a season of life when I have time to do just that.