Here in northern California, everything’s coming up roses. Â My yard is no exception; I’m filling vases every few days. Â These beauties are gracing the little Mary shrine (actually, a 1940s phone nook) in the hallway.
If only you could smell them as well as see them! Â The scent is intoxicating.
This isn’t the only vase of roses in the hallway, though. Â If you look really closely at the first picture, Â you’ll see that there’s another tiny one, there at the base of the Mary statue.
Last December, Matthew’s elementary school had a little holiday shop on campus where kids could purchase gifts for their family and friends. Â Matthew excitedly asked us for some money, so we gave him a few dollars.
“I want to tell you what I’m going to get you, Mom,” he told me in the car.
â€œDon’t tell me!” Â I said. Â â€œLet’s keep it a secret. Â Then I can be surprised when I open it on Christmas.”
He thought about it. â€œNo,” he said, with a smile he couldn’t hide. â€œI want to tell you what it is now. Â I don’t want to wait.”
We went a few rounds back and forth: me, extolling the virtues of suspense and surprise; Matthew, insisting that he wanted to tell me now. Â He was so excited to tell me that I finally said he could.
“It’s a vase of glass roses,” he said eagerly. Â â€œDo you think you would like that? Â I know you really like flowers.”
I told him that it sounded beautiful. Â Of course I would love it. Â And how thoughtful of him to remember that I love roses so much! Â He beamed in the backseat.
And when he gave me the roses — the very day he bought them, because he couldn’t wait until it was Christmas — he produced a small square box from his backpack. Â It was about four inches high and four inches wide; I’d envisioned something much larger. Â He opened the box eagerly and I helped him take off the protective wrapping. Â And there it was: the Christmas gift from my little boy, a miniscule Â MADE IN CHINA bouquet of electric-pink roses.
“Do you like it?” he asked anxiously.
I hugged him and kissed his head. Â â€œI love it,” I managed to say through the lump in my throat. Â â€œI absolutely love it.”
When we got home, I put the roses at the base of the Mary statue. Â It was winter, and I didn’t have any garden flowers of my own to put there. Â But Â even though it’s spring and the yard is blooming now, I haven’t moved Matthew’s roses. Â I like having the two bouquets there, side by side.
One bouquet is lush and fragrant, a testament to the awesome beauty of creation. Â And one is small and scentless, a testament to the earnest love of a kindergartener. Â They each represent something different to me, and I like that.
But there’s only one bouquet that I will keep forever.