Lessons in Raising Roses

Lessons in Raising RosesRoses have been around since Ancient Greece and are associated with any number of emotions depending on the color or species, you could be projecting passion, innocence, gratitude, or friendship. {Best to consult a seasoned florist lest you send the wrong message.}

Considered a “hardy” breed of plant, they can withstand most things if cared for properly. Knock Out roses, in particular, are known for withstanding tough climate conditions, poor soil and care, and ideal for beginners. {Ah, my cup of tea.}

For Mother’s Day one year, I decided I wanted roses again. So, we went out and purchased three Knock Outs that represented my three levels of motherhood:: fur babies, angel babies, and foster babies. Because everyone needs an identity, they were lovingly {and appropriately} named after brands of rosé:: Channing, Lila, and Sonoma.

Caring for Roses

Lessons in Raising RosesSpending time with my roses took on a unique brand of self-care that made sense to basically no one. Sometimes it meant hours dedicated to pulling out the slightest hint of weeds threatening to invade their delicate atmosphere. Other times it was a quick lunch break to clear away the deadheads, gently pruning the browned leaves, making way for new growth. In any case, it was quiet time alone {or with a dog at my side} hands deep in the earth or clad in gloves—just me and my girls.

Ever so carefully, I weaved my gloved hands through the thorn-clad canes while simultaneously admiring bright blooms. Sure, you can buy a bushel of roses at the store, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as seeing them bloom in your backyard. There’s something that smells just a little bit sweeter.

Braving the Thorns

Caring for my roses is not so unlike the kids that come into foster care. They are made of hardy stuff. Most hail from some pretty tough conditions. Their foundation isn’t always the best, perhaps a little sandy. They haven’t always been cared for properly and their roots aren’t always stable. Their exterior can feel prickly.

They have formed protective edges that contain a few thorns, and while they don’t always mean to, self-preservation means causing pain if you get too close. While some self-protective gear is recommended, it doesn’t mean you can’t right in there. Brave the thorns.

Once you clear out some of the mess, pull the weeds choking out their life source, something truly striking begins to grow. You’ll see bits of old life wilt and need to be removed so new life can form—new pathways can be made.

And then, one day out of nowhere, that thorny vine will produce a tiny, vibrant bloom. You won’t be so sure at first, so you’ll wait for another one. And then maybe one day there’s a small, colorful spray. You’ll hold your breath because it won’t last forever. But for a season, you played a part in helping grow something inarguably magnificent.

Underneath the newly grown foliage, the thorns are still there. Now and then, they’ll remind your exposed skin that they exist. When they do, concentrate on the bloom—because, for a moment in time, you allowed them to shine.

Don’t mind me. I’ll just be over here raising roses.


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Kirsten C. was born and raised in Texas Hill Country. After becoming a hopelessly devoted Bobcat and earning a degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations at Texas State University, she was wooed by the never-ending culinary options and vibrant street art of Houston and became a transplant. By day she is a marketing enthusiast for a downtown engineering firm, and by night, an over-the-top {and unashamed} dog mom. She and her husband William are licensed foster parents—advocating for children and families—who hope to one day grow their family through adoption. You can follow their unruly journey on their blog, Cornell Chaos. When she’s not trying a new restaurant, playing behind the lens of a Cannon, piddling in the yard, or scouring markets for hidden gems, Kirsten is often found teaching student ministry through Kingsland Baptist Church or escaping at a local coffee spot.

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