A Shoebox Full of Roses

A Little Love Story from my Mom


Flowers sometimes speak for us the words we can’t express…

            As I’ve been creating centerpieces for Mother’s Day, I’ve been surrounded by beautiful, heaven-scented roses and all those roses have brought back memories of the scents that filled the air of my childhood years.

Image 2
               My beautiful mother in a small section of her rose garden, 1950s

            My mother was the loving proprietor of a huge rose garden, and only now am I coming to understand how much joy and pleasure she must have taken in those flowers.


            There is a tender little story she told me once ~ a story about roses from her garden and the man she loved, and I would like to share it with you. I don’t think either of them would mind.

             My father was an engineer by profession, and his personality was typical of the “engineer” stereotype. He seemed unable to express tender feelings or positive emotions, hiding himself behind a thick wall of sternness and pragmatism.


             He was certainly not given to extravagant romantic gestures nor to flowery words and expressions; in fact, “I love you” didn’t seem to be a phrase in his vocabulary. 

            One morning, however, this man who hid his tender side so carefully, did something so uncharacteristic that it shocked my mother, and years later when she told me the story, it made a deep impression on me, as well,  and helped me to see that things are not always as they may appear.

           That early summer morning, while my mother slept, my dad went out into the rose garden, carrying a cardboard shoebox and a pair of clippers.

IMG_3986 - Version 2         I can just imagine him clumsily making his way through the dozens of rose bushes, navigating around the thorny branches as best he could, looking for the most beautiful roses he could find.


        He searched and searched, and clipped and piled, and filled that cardboard box till it was overflowing with soft, silky, heavenly, fragrant roses.



           Quietly, he carried his offering into their bedroom, that shoebox full of roses still glistening-damp with dew, and when Mother opened her eyes, there he stood with roses in his hands, silently offering them to her with his love.


           From her telling, she was taken quite by surprise at this beautiful and uncommon gesture, and I know it touched her heart deeply. Those amazing roses piled in a cardboard box said something to my mother that my father could not express in words, and their message stayed with her for the rest of her life, and I am sure, into eternity.




10 thoughts on “A Shoebox Full of Roses

  1. What a lovely tribute to both of your parents. Speaks volumes knowing so many that can’t say the words but their actions say it all in one swoop!


  2. Sometimes as I write these posts, I feel angels guiding me. This was definitely one of those. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this photo of my mom (sent by my brother), and as I look at it today I see she was wearing a corsage, and I now believe it was taken on MOTHER’S DAY!!! 🙂


  3. What a beautiful story. Knowing this man as I did this was such a beautiful insight into someone I never knew would express such love and softness. I can’t stop the tears knowing what this story has meant to you all these years. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Sydne,

    What a lovely picture and story! It underscores what I wrote in the last e-mail which was written before seeing this.




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