Kids’ gifts rock.
“Thank you for your troubles!” my daughter offered, outstretched arms holding a single plastic flower in a simple plastic vase. No matter that the sentiment made no sense. It was adorable, from a kid.
(Did I mention she’d already celebrated her 16th birthday at this point?)
Kids know there’s an air of goodwill when it comes to flowers. Even when they’re given to mom (and picked from mom’s garden.) Kids draw suns and flowers and cars and the moon with smiling faces. If it’s happy, it can smile.
Flowers symbolize life’s beauty and sadness. Flowers to me have symbolized expressions of awkward crushes and memorials for my dad.
They’ve foretold spring and delivered throat-coating pollen.
They became the show of hope and appreciation I could afford as a young man in his first job with a new family.
They represent my home state (Colorado Columbine) and adoptive state (North Carolina dogwood.) Flowers are both the expression of light and the extension of light in darkness.
Nothing to lose your head over
Great ideas in the eighth-grade mind don’t always become great ideas in the world at large.
Because words can’t possibly do the trick to get the attention of a tenor sax player, I’d planned it out: I’d write a love note (on music paper – how rich is that?) and stash a single long-stem rose in the bell of my baritone sax. After the jazz band concert – bam. Instant teenage romance.
Only, when I pulled the rose out, the stem stuck.
It left me with a handful of rose petals and a thorny stem stuck in my sax. When that happens, a note doesn’t stand a chance. Not even on music paper.
Carolina in my nose (and ears and throat)
To be fair, it’s not just flower pollen that gets me sneezing.
Here in Carolina, it’s the tree pollen that really kills me. It’s all worth it though. The spring flowers once portended outdoor study days, opening day for baseball and co-eds in shorts and spaghetti straps.
As a young dad, they told me the time had come to take the girls outside, flipflops and ponytails.
Now, the blooms pop open just before spring soccer season, one last chance to see just how much we’ve learned and grown and just how far that and heart will take us as a team.
They had my back
My coworkers had my back – the whole way.
I didn’t know it at the time. With my dad an hour away at Duke Hospital, the sports desk staff at the News & Record in Greensboro planned an alternative shift for days I couldn’t make it to work. Every day. Can you imagine? Almost a month of everyone being on call. And no one said a word.
They were family. My editors wrote me personal notes after dad died. My desk mates drove to Charlotte for the funeral. They took care of me when I was sick and alone in the weeks after, they again covered for me and drove me to doctors’ appointments.
If that wasn’t enough, they pitched in for a beautiful peace lily for my dad’s funeral. During the saddest weeks of my life, they showed me love and support that I couldn’t always see. In the end, that lily reminded me of all of it.
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So stick a plastic flower in a plastic vase. If you make enough in tips, stop by a local florist and hand-pick enough for a vase. Order flowers online for someone on your mind from a company like FreshFlowers.com.au (a Melbourne flower delivery service, but also ships flowers to cities all over the world).
Or make a flower craft with the kids.
Flowers say what you want to say when the words aren’t easy. Or known, or even necessary.
What have flowers said for you?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.