“What’s this?” I said to myself as I walked into my bedroom and saw a vase and flower on the dresser. It was a bud vase of green glass, with a yellow ribbon tied around it. It held a red velvet rose, made with obvious care and skill.
I knew my 15-year-old daughter, Ellen, had made flowers like this before, usually for friends or to give away as presents. But why would she be giving one to me? Though we rarely quarrel, she and I had quarreled earlier in the day, and the storm clouds between us had not yet evaporated.
And what was this—a note addressed to me? I opened it and read:
“Dear mom, this may seem like a small thing to give, and it may only be a copy of the real thing, but it still has the beauty of a real rose. This rose isn’t real, though, and that’s on purpose. Because real roses die. But this one will always be alive. And so will the love I have for my mother. Even though it sometimes seems that I don’t love you, I do love you.
“Just like when there’s dust on the rose and you blow it away and everything seems new, the same is true when we’re upset. Blow the dust away and our love shines clean and new. I love you, mom. I always will.”
Tears dropped down my cheeks. I felt ashamed for not having been the first to apologize, but Ellen had apologized first. She had more than cleared the problems between us. She had given me a gift of love.
We still disagree occasionally, but now we both know how superficial that dust on our relationship is, and we have learned to quickly blow it off. After we have, then, with warmth and tender appreciation, I walk into the bedroom and blow the dust off my velvet rose, too.