Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carrière' & My Daughter The JerkWednesday, June 18, 2008
On Wednesday afternoons I pick up Rebecca at home and take her to her ballet class. When her class is over we go to Opera Sushi. Today was different. When I arrived at Rebecca's I was told by Hilary (her mother and my daughter) that Rebecca was punished because she had called her mother a jerk. She was not to go to Opera Sushi with me after her class. Rebecca does not like to be rushed into dressing (in this case into her ballet clothes) so she reacted accordingly. Hilary knows that traffic is bad at 5:30 so I have to leave on time. Rebecca said, "I really didn't want to go to sushi, anyway." At that point I stepped in and told her that if she said anything after I finished speaking I had the power to ground her (this means no computer and no TV for several days). Rebecca was quiet. In the car she had a few tears but I said nothing.
When I picked her up (a bit angry inside since I was not going to have the pleasure of her company at Opera Sushi) I also said nothing but I stopped at a coffee shop and told Rebecca we were going to have a chat. She got confrontational but we finally sat down.
I told her that many of the roses in my garden that were from the 19th century gave women no direct credit. I gave as examples Rosa 'Madame Pierre Oget', Madame de Brunel (her husband was famous), Madame Isaac Pereirie and finally Madame Alfred Carrière. I explained that not too long ago her mother would have been Mrs. Bruce Stewart and her grandmother Mrs. Jorge Waterhouse-Hayward. I explained that women had fought to be respected and to be called by their name. So roses increasingly were given names of women, independent of their husbands such as Madame Hardy or Mrs. Oakley Fisher. And modern roses like Jacqueline du Pre or Mary Webb celebrate women all on their own.
Rebecca understood what I was driving at. "I should not have called her a jerk, " she said to me apologetically. Perhaps Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carrière' was in my mind as she has been blooming for the last couple of days. Her flowers are all white if seen from far but when you get close you will notice a faint but attractive pink blush. Her scent is heavenly and today like an angel that she is she helped me bring Rebecca around.
Rebecca responds to logic and she understood that on Wednesdays, just before I arrive to pick her up she is statistically (she knows the meaning of this word) poised to have a fight with her mother. She told me she was going to try her best to avoid that mathematical possibility.