May 6 , 2010 EJOURNAL...

Papa's Mother's Day Rose Tradition

View past ejournals HERE>>

My mother died a year and a half ago, so this time of year is especially poignant for me. This will be the second Mother’s Day that I haven’t had a mother—no one to call and wish a “Happy Mother’s Day!” or send a card and flowers to. I still grieve for her and sometimes I have dreams that I am a little girl calling out for her…”Mama…Mama.”

I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, but to me the most touching scene in that movie was during the Battle of Normandy when the dying young men on the battlefield were calling out for their mothers. I’ve read enough history to know that is a common occurrence when soldiers are dying or in extreme pain.

I guess inside each one of us is a little boy or little girl calling out for our mother. If we had a good mother, the calling out is from a place of being comforted when we were hurt or upset, of feeling safe and loved and protected because she was around. If we had a bad mother, the calling out is from a place of always longing for but never really experiencing the feelings of being loved, comforted, and protected by your mother.

So, as a tribute to my mother and yours, I want to tell you about the Mother’s Day Rose Tradition in our family when I was growing up and the first time I realized there would come a day when I didn’t have a mother to celebrate on Mother’s Day.

When I was a girl, my father had a tradition about Mother's Day. Apparently, when he was growing up in Blakely, Georgia, on Mother's Day Sunday everyone went to church with a rose. If your mother was still alive, you wore a red rose pinned to your suit lapel or dress. If your mother was no longer living, you wore a white rose or sometimes a yellow rose. And at the front of the church would be a huge bouquet of red and white roses so that anyone who didn’t have a rose could get one at the church. It was a silent tribute to your own mother and to motherhood in general.

Over the years I’ve heard hundreds of Mother’s Day sermons about mothers, but don’t remember any of them. All I remember is our family’s Mother’s Day Rose Tradition.

Of course, as a kid, I didn't really appreciate Papa's little family tradition. Why? Well, for one thing, it meant I had to get up a little earlier on Mother's Day Sunday and go out to the side of the house for his ceremony of the rose picking and pinning. And getting up early was on my Top 10 list of things to avoid like the plague.

My father had planted a red climbing rose bush (I think it was called Blaze) on the south side of our house in Decatur and it always was in bloom the first week of May. With the help of this bush, he was able to elevate the Mother's Day Rose Tradition to the level of a religious experience. 

Here's how the ritual went. We all dressed up. That in itself was a huge undertaking because this was in the days when people really dressed up for church—dresses, patent leather shoes, hair ribbons or hats, and sometimes gloves. Then we would fumble around in Mama's sewing box to find hatpins. When the bickering finally stopped over who was going to get which colored hat pin and everyone had pricked themselves several times and put bandaids on their fingers and finally had a hatpin in hand, we would all troop to the side of the house and Papa would begin cutting a rose for each one of us.

Picking just the right roses to satisfy three fashion-conscious little girls was a time-consuming endeavor, because no matter which rose Papa chose, there would be choruses of "No, not that one. Go a little higher. See the one that is more of a bud. No, no....to the right," and so on.

I could see my father beginning to get red above his collar. He was a deacon, taught Sunday School and also sang bass in the choir, so he needed to have this rose-picking and pinning job done as quickly as possible so he could get on to church and get his Sunday School class started.

After what probably seemed an eternity to Papa, he would have five roses, one for each of us. Mama (who always seemed to have floral tape on hand), would take each rose and wrap the stem and a few leaves in floral tape making a corsage for each of us. Then she would carefully pin the rose corsage to each of our dresses. The "pinning of the roses" also took quite a long time because inevitably the first and second pinnings would be crooked and have to be straightened.

Mama would do the same for Papa, and then create a corsage for herself. Only then would we be ready to go to church. For some reason, we were usually late for church on Mother's Day and by the time we got there Papa was fuming. 

Another reason I didn't appreciate Papa's little tradition was the negative socialization that came with being the only person in my Sunday School department wearing a rose on Mother's Day.

When I got to church it didn't seem like there were any other children whose parents had the same tradition as mine, so I was endlessly questioned as to why I was wearing a rose corsage. And as I got older, the questioning turned into teasing. When I became an adolescent, the older kids thought it was ridiculous for me to wear a corsage in honor of my mother because by then we were supposed to have downgraded our parents to the status of necessary evils. This wasn’t Blakely, Georgia of my father’s childhood, it was Atlanta and we were supposed to be too “progressive” to keep up with traditions like honoring our parents.

I never told Papa or Mama this, but sometimes I would take my rose off before Sunday School and put it in my purse until time for church. Then I would put it back on, because Mama and the three or us girls always sat together in the same pew in the balcony so we could get a good view of Papa in the choir.

Needless to say, it took me many years to really appreciate the Mother's Day Rose Tradition.

The day wearing that corsage turned from a hassle to a symbol of appreciation was when I was in my early teens. My grandmother was visiting us and it happened to be Mother's Day Sunday. So of course, she was included in the ritual of the roses.

That Sunday morning when we all marched to the side of the house to get our roses I was especially cranky because my grandmother had commandeered my room and I was having to bunk in with my two younger sisters, which made them cranky too because they didn't appreciate having to share. Mama also looked a little peeved. Having her mother-in-law visiting meant extra work for her because "Miss Carrie," as everyone called her, could be especially demanding. Probably if we'd had time to take a family picture that morning it would have shown a lot of sour faces.

But as we rounded the corner of the house, everything changed for me. It suddenly dawned on me that my grandmother would not be wearing a red rose. And we had no white rose bush.

I felt a sudden rush of emotion—gratitude mixed with sadness. Gratitude that I still had a mother living and an overwhelming sadness that one day I would not. And then I would no longer be able to wear a red rose on Mother's Day.

That morning, standing beside our house in Decatur, Georgia, I felt a new appreciation for my mother and a great swell of happiness that she was still alive. I had friends who had lost their mothers and I had never really thought about what life would be like without mine.

My father, always the planner, had already foreseen the need for a white rose and had bought one for my grandmother from a local florist. So we were all able to go to church with a Mother's Day rose.

That was many years ago and Mama and Papa are both gone now. So is my grandmother, Miss Carrie. And I never see anyone wear roses to church on Mother’s Day. It seems the tradition has died out—even in the South. But not a Mother’s Day goes by without me thinking about me being a little girl gathered with my family beside that rosebush early in the morning before church for the Mother’s Day Rose Tradition.

I wrote about my mother’s death in a previous newsletter. You can read it HERE.

Any article appearing on this website may be copied or forwarded electronically provided that proper credit is given and that the article is not substantively modified. No article may appear in whole or in part in a publication sold for profit or as part of any commercial endeavor without the written consent of Home School Marketplace.

© Copyright 2010. Home School Marketplace.

Be sure to sign up for our ejournal! Sign up below.

View past ejournals


Creating Your Life on-line course at 1/3 off. This is an online, video-based self-study course in which Robert Fritz is your teacher and you learn to create your own life just as an artist paints a painting, a composer composes a symphony, or a poet writes a poem. In this course, Robert further develops the special insights that he introduced in his best selling book The Path of Least Resistance. The course has five lessons that will take you from 5 to 10 weeks to complete and includes a copy of Robert’s book Your Life as Art as well as the course materials and use of tools on the website. This course online is normally $299 and if you took it in person in Vermont it would be at least twice that. But with this special invitation code you can enroll for $199. I highly recommend that you take this course as a family—husband, wife, and high school age children. To enroll in this course, go to www.wisepond.com and enter this invitation code: AFF1455.

Organic Play Dough at great savings!

Our friend Susan is a home schooling Mom and she is very concerned about her children's health. Her son, Liam is allergic to almost every chemical known to man, so Susan has to be very, very careful what she allows him to play with. When he gets together with other children and they play with Play Doh, Liam can't play. The dyes and chemicals in the dough can not only make him very sick, they might kill him.

To read the story of how Susan solved Liam's problem and how you can benefit from what she did, GO HERE>>

Home School and Home Business

Let Your Mortgage Make You Rich.
A friend in my internet marketing group discovered this technique for paying down your mortgage incredibly quickly without making an extra payment or refinancing. Using her method, people are cutting a 30 year mortgage down to eight or nine years. It’s true; without extra payments or refinancing – you could save tens of thousands of dollars - even hundreds of thousands - on what you pay for your home. And the best part is that the book comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don't save more on your mortgage than the book costs in the first 18 months of using the techniques, you'll get your money back.
Find out more about this money-saving book NOW!

I Saw the Angel in the Marble

With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more HERE>>

Turning Hearts: Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/Davis Seminars Set
Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

Building the Home School of Your Dreams is a 6 CD set taken from the From Home School To Home Business Seminar and features sessions by Chris Davis and Mary Hood. Find out more HERE>>

From Home School to Home Business
(14 CD Set)

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who attended told us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD Set) We've had requests for just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar, so have developed a set of the business CDs from that set. It contains 8 CDs and includes sessions on The Entrepreneurial Mind, Multiple Streams of Home Income, Discovering Your Ideal Life and Ideal Business (2 CDs) , Developing a Business Plan (2 CDs), and The Importance of Business Relationships. Plus, there is a very important and insightful interview on Redeeming the Marketplace. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter featuring lots and lots of great ideas and information about home life in all of its facets--schooling at home, creating family businesses, raising children, and more! Why not join us? The 20,000 plus home educators who receive our EJournal newsletter get timely, new articles, promotional specials, company news and more delivered right to their email inbox. We offer many articles and thought-provoking essays through the EJournal that you won't find anywhere else. Best of all, it's free. And, rest assured we never sell, rent or share our customer email or mailing list with anyone for any reason.

Fill in your e-mail address below and press "sign me up!"......................... See our newsletter archives>>>
Your E-mail address: