Haley Hamilton, Unsplash

Roses & Eggshells - Bloom Where You Are Planted

12:00 July 30, 2021
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

A grandmother's ("Tita") profound influence on me per eggshells helping roses bloom in gardens, in restoring family well-being, in guiding my social work gerontology career with caregivers, and in my faith walk.

Image Courtesy of Keith Horcasitas

After we boiled some eggs recently to make a delicious egg salad, Maria, my better-half, asked me to put the egg shells on the roots area of our backyard rose garden.

This brought back some great childhood memories of when I was about 6 and we lived in the Carrollton area of New Orleans and we were was blessed to have my fraternal grandmother, "Tita," reside in our basement apartment.

Tita, which is short for "Abueletta" in Spanish—which means grandmother—was very special to me as she had a very giving and shy nature, and despite her diminutive stature, she stood tall by her influence upon me.

I really can't recall talking much with her, as we had one of those heart to heart relationships that didn't require many words.

Tita was very committed to her Catholic faith and would be seen constantly holding her Rosary in her hands, which she would pray with all the time even when we would be watching Walter Cronkite do the CBS Evening News.

It was amazing how neat that rose garden would blossom so much in our backyard at 1929 Broadway on the corner of Spruce Street in Uptown New Orleans.

Sometimes, Tita would ask for me to help her spread the cracked egg shells that Mom would save, as Tita would note how they could help roses to grow.

As a kid, I wasn't too excited for doing that for Tita, but it was fun using my hands and a hammer to crack the shells up for her.

And now that I ponder about this, it is amazing how Tita's egg shell lessons transferred to a life skill practice of being totally honest in human relations.

For you see, later on when I was in high school and our family was addressing some familial concerns, our social worker in family therapy told us that we seemed to be "walking on eggshells" in not directly addressing some normal familial concerns.

As we all learned to be more directive and honest in our communications, it certainly helped us to be more functional as a family unit.

Now that I am a clinical social worker helping many elders, as gerontology (the study of aging) was my emphasis in graduate social work studies, I find myself engaging with many family caregivers who sometimes "walk on eggshells" when it comes to them not speaking up for their own understandable caregiver stress concerns.

Thanks, Tita, for helping so many roses to blossom in my childhood, my family, and now as I reach out as a social worker to help others to "crack eggshells" in their lives, so that they can truly "bloom where they are planted!"

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