I was at the grocery store with Tristan and Norah, my two oldest children. We passed the florist, and my son said, “Are you going to buy Mom flowers?” He was walking next to the cart, smiling up at me. Then Norah, in the cart, said, “Yeah, let’s get her flowers.” She was smiling too. I don’t know if either of them understands what it means to give a mother flowers, but they clearly can feel the joy it brings their mother. Buying their mother flowers has become a part of our lives now, and they wanted to take part in it. They wanted to show their mother that they appreciate her, same as I do.
When Mel and I were married 11 years ago, I committed to buying her flowers once a month. I haven’t done the best job at holding to that commitment. I kept it up for the first year or two. But as I got more and more wrapped up in college and kids and eventually my career, I started to move away from being so consistent. I still bought her flowers, but not nearly as often as once a month. Sometimes I bought them because we’d had an argument. Sometimes I bought them because she’d had a rough day. Sometimes I bought them just because. But if I were to put a number on it, I’d say that I bought my wife flowers two or three times a year, minimum. In comparison to some marriages, I assume that’s a lot. For some, not nearly enough.
I always had my excuses. I didn’t have the time to pick them up. Or we didn’t have the money. But in the past year or so, I’ve started buying her flowers again. Once a month, just like I promised myself I’d do when we first got married. And I’ve noticed a few things.
First, and this is the honest truth, buying my wife flowers is really easy. In fact, it’s probably the easiest thing I can do to make her feel better about our marriage and show that I care. It’s not like when we first were married and I had to go to the florist, wait in line, pick out flowers, wait for them to be wrapped, and then deliver them. Not that any of that is very hard, but the fact is, taking time out of my life to get flowers for my wife is a thing of the past. Ordering flowers is about pushing buttons.
There are several affordable places that will deliver flowers. (You know these places. Even local florist do it.) And it takes little more than an internet search. I get coupons emailed to me regularly. With the click of a few buttons, I had one place send my wife flowers and candy for three days. Three days! It was even called “three days of romance.” I didn’t have to do shit outside of place an order. Each day, she sent me a picture of the deliveries along with a message about how much she loved me. She talked about it on Facebook. It made her feel like a damn princess. With each delivery, my children helped take the flowers out of the box and place them in water.
And that got me to thinking about how, outside of showing my wife that I cared about her, buying my wife flowers has had a really big impact on my children. I have two girls and a boy. My son is 9 years old, and I want him to see me buy his mother flowers because I want him to know how to treat a wife and mother. I want him to know the importance of showing the person that he loves affection, even after being married for 11 years. I want to show him by example. And my daughters, I want them to expect flowers. I want them to marry someone who is willing to take that extra little bit of time and money to invest in romance.
As Tristan and Norah helped me pick out flowers for their mother at the store, I looked down at my son and said, “When you get married, I expect you to buy your wife flowers. I hope you realize that.” He looked up at me with a somber, collective face, and nodded. Then I looked at my daughter, and said, “Whoever you marry better buy you flowers. I want you to expect it of them.” She smiled and gave me a hug.
We went home, and Tristan and Norah argued over who got to give them to Mom. Eventually, Norah won out with the promise that Tristan will give them to Mom next time. Norah ran through the door, and handed Mel a simple bouquet of tulips along with an ear-to-ear grin and said, “Love you, Mommy.” Tristan stood behind her with a goofy grin. She hugged them both, and then gave me a kiss.
It doesn’t have to be flowers. It could be candy, or coffee, or whatever simple affordable thing the mother is into. But ultimately, it’s about showing a mother that you care. For us, it’s flowers. They show her that I’m thinking about her. It’s a simple and small gesture that really means something. And I want my children to know what romance looks like. And the fact is, a mother deserves that appreciation. They deserve small gestures of romance.
My wife is strong and committed to our family, and that can be a thankless job. She spends most of her day elbow-deep in boogers and puke. She negotiates a number of arguments every day. She stresses and frets about her children. Her body was stretched, cut, and sewn back together for this family. Buying her flowers is a simple and regular way to say “Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for your tireless efforts. You are appreciated.”
She is still beautiful. She is still worthy of flowers and romance and appreciation. The fact is, buying flowers isn’t a waste of money. It’s an investment in my marriage and family.