Flashback to about 40 years ago. I was dating a predecessor to my husband, and we stopped at my parents’ house the afternoon of what was going to be just a regular Saturday night for us. I casually mentioned it was Sweetest Day, which activated my mother’s mini-soapbox.
“It’s just another made-up holiday so they can sell more cards, flowers, and candy,” she said, rather emphatically. If blogs (or personal computers, or the Internet) had been invented way back when, I have no doubt she would have written about this and coined the now-common term, Hallmark Holiday.
Anyway, we went on our merry way, had our typical date Saturday night, and thought nothing more about it.
In those days, I was in my first apartment, which was about 30 high-speed country roads minutes from home. Late the next afternoon there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, there stood my mom, bouquet of flowers in hand.
Before I could ask, she poured out her guilt and explained.
“I’m sorry I opened my big mouth yesterday,” she said. “I went on and on about how dumb Sweetest Day was, and that stopped Bill from getting you anything.”
I laughed out loud.
“Bill wasn’t ever going to get me anything,” I said, “and that had nothing to do with you. Besides, I didn’t expect anything.”
I thanked her, and she didn’t stay long.
More Than Just Flowers
This may just seem like a simple, sweet (no pun intended) gesture, but it was much more than that … although I surely didn’t realize that at the time, nor thank her properly. My barely-more-than adolescent daughter brain was no doubt sufficiently closed and/or immature at the time, but now that I’m in my dotage, I understand only too clearly.
You see, my mom didn’t get her driver’s license until she was in her 40s, having grown up in the big city and in a generation where many women didn’t drive. But a move to the boonies, sans public transportation and miles away from everything, necessitated her learning at her advanced driver’s ed age.
That, combined with my dad still doing most of the driving, made her a kind of nervous driver who took the wheel only when the situation warranted. She also hated driving in the dark, and rarely did.
On that October afternoon, with the sun threatening to set ever earlier, it took love and courage for her to get in the car to delivery an unnecessary apology and beautiful flowers.
So on THIS October afternoon, I want to publicly say thank you, Mom, for the wonderful gesture so long ago. I know now it was a big deal and typical of your unsung kindness.
May I forever honor you by doing the same whenever I can.