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(C) 2018 Trina Lambert

I like my job—and I miss having time to ponder. Don’t get me wrong—I do take time to stop and ponder for a few moments at work, and then I get back to what I’m supposed to do. So far, though, I haven’t figured out how to prioritize writing down those thoughts once I make it home. The few thoughts that have made it onto my blog these past two years remind me that I am approaching blogging just as I approached journaling when I was growing up. If you could read those old journal entries, you’d think I was always upset and angry—and that nothing good ever happened.

That’s because the only time I took to write was times when I was upset. Writing, after all, is a great way to process wild emotions and figure out what to do about what isn’t working. But it’s the little occasions, the boring ones, the ecstatic happenings, and the random thoughts that round out a life well lived.

And those never made it into writing.

When I took up a journaling habit about 20 years ago, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I had missed out on the breadth of my life by only recording my worst moments. I mean, who wants only their worst thoughts to be their legacy?

Not me! Yet here I am, doing it again.

This, despite the fact June has arrived, and with her all the roses that bloomed over a few short nights. Our rose seasons for the last several years have been severely shortened by voracious Japanese Beetles, so much so that these pre-Beetle days of roses and sunshine smell especially sweet to me.

Saturday dawned with blue skies, light breezes, and cool temperatures that would eventually rise to no more than 80. While running with my dog through the much fancier neighborhood next door to mine, I drank in the many hues of late spring flowers, the green-green grass of the golf course, the yellow-green reeds waving along the path, the fluorescent shades worn by the passing cyclists, even the yellow stripe in the center of the road. Colors were exploding on an extraordinary ordinary day.

The day stretched with activities such as taking dogs to vets, watching a team of 6th grade baseballers (and their little sisters) wash my car, and puttering around with my plants, before I finished it up by sharing tasty breakfast tacos and icy margaritas with my husband at a favorite local spot.

Not much of note happened. Perfect, right? Nothing like taking a day off from outrage to appreciate just what you’re fighting for—for you and for all the other ordinary people just wanting to live ordinary lives.

Taking time to smell the roses isn’t trivial—it’s essential.

And for me, maybe it’s just as important that I finally got around to recording some of the little moments that make up my life—and make it worth living.

Rosebush delivered on porch, 06/28/11

Last May my back was hurting so much I wasn’t even tempted to buy too many flowers as I usually am. Heck, I could hardly plant any flowers. Luckily, the weather was so cold and unreliable that planting late seemed like a genius idea, even if it was only an accidental result of my injury. In fact, throughout the whole growing season I wasn’t really that attentive to watering, fertilizing, and deadheading so my flowers just weren’t that vibrant. Oh, and there was that “everything had to be kept up so the puppy wouldn’t eat it” thing, too.

So when I came home one day to find an orange rosebush on my front porch, I was a little stunned as to what to do with it. “Happy birthday! Love, Chris” read the card. Into the end of June came a lot of glorious color, but what was the story?

Well, the real story is just the sort of thing I would have expected from my college roommate Chris—if I had been expecting anything! Which I wasn’t . . .

The flowers didn’t really arrive on my birthday, but right in between my mother’s birthday and mine. You see, this was the first year I had to celebrate my own birthday without first having celebrated hers.

Turns out Chris had sent the rosebush in honor of my mother—and that’s why the flowers were Mom’s favorite color of orange. She had searched long and hard on the Internet to find rosebushes that came with orange blooms—as well as thrived in Colorado. An Ohio native, she first fell for information that made it sound as if poor, arid Colorado could not support any roses, but then she persevered until she found the right roses at a nursery the Internet told her was located close to my home.

Chris is the kind of person who would write an eight-page letter but never send it because she didn’t have any stamps. Or the person who would research, write, and type her term papers all in one day—and get an A+ on them. She can over-think things at times. Can you say hyper-focus?

Anyway, her original plan was to order the bush as a surprise for delivery to me on my first Mother’s Day without my mom.

Well, the truth is, she did order the bush in May, but turns out getting a nursery to deliver anything like that around Mother’s Day and during prime planting season isn’t very easy. She refused to inconvenience me by having me pick up the bush myself, so she told them to wait to deliver it until my birthday at the end of June instead.

Unbeknownst to her, she had picked my absolute favorite nursery—where I had gone two or three times in May! Little did I know that I had a rosebush being lovingly tended there at the same time I was choosing which annuals to bring home to plant.

While my rosebush grew and matured under the care of professional green thumbs, the Colorado temperatures stayed really cold and rainy (didn’t it snow after Mother’s Day?) until all of a sudden the weather turned hot—and fast. Quite frankly, with my less-than-green-thumb, I might have killed the bush under those conditions. When it finally arrived at our house, it was no longer quite so tender and ready to withstand the heat—and the sort of abuse I might accidentally dish out.

Still, it was tender enough that I knew not to plant it in the backyard where the puppy roamed!

Rose, October 2011

During the heat of summer, every day roses bloomed—and then the petals fell away overnight. But when fall arrived, the blooms grew even larger and stayed open for days and nights at a time.

These roses for my mama didn’t arrive quite on her birthday, but close enough that I can’t stop hearing C.W. McCall singing that song (“Roses for Mama”) inside my head. And I smile—both about my friend’s gift and about my mama.

Yesterday, the first buds of this season opened. More roses for this mama—and I don’t even care if it’s not my birthday.

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