On the morning of Feb. 14, I walked in my dark kitchen and flipped on the light. My eyes went straight to the kitchen counter looking for the note my hubby leaves me every morning before he leaves for work. They’re always just quickly jotted down notes with an “I love you”, “Love ya”, or “Hope you have a good day lovely lady.” Sometimes they may be a little more detailed and say something like “The toilet was clogged and overflowing. I got it unclogged and bleached the toilet and bathroom floor. The clothes and towels that were on the floor and soaked in toilet water are in a trash bag in the laundry room. Have a great day!”
I saw the note immediately. It was laying on a pile of dirty dishes that I didn’t take the time to throw in the dishwasher the night before. Beside the note was a book, a heart-shaped box full of Reese cups and... the once white but now brown, wilted and drooping flowers.
I look at the note to see the explanation for them. Nothing. WTH?
I text him and told him I loved my flowers the most. No funny reply back. WTH?
I called him at lunch. I asked about the flowers. He had no idea what I was talking about. They were perfect when he brought them in that morning. Perfect and FROZEN.
See, my dear, sweet, clueless husband was on his game this year and went and bought my flowers two days before. Being the clever man that he is, he left them in his car... with the freezing temps. “The cold will help preserve them.” he thought.
Days later, they are still sitting on the counter. We all look at them and laugh. And no, Reg, that little packet of preservative you put in them didn’t help.
As I sit here and look at those flowers they remind me a lot of our marriage.
You know, I love Reg, but sometimes I don’t like him. Sometimes I get so angry at him I can’t look at his face, but I still check out his butt. He’ll say something stupid or hurtful, but later give me that smile and wink and my heart goes thumpity thump. His dorkiness gets on my nerves, but I love his dorkiness too. His sense of humor and jokes are something only a very immature 10 year old would laugh at. Our kids love him. His snoring and weird breathing noises, while he sleeps, annoy the hell out of me. I love jabbing my elbow into his side and pushing his face not too gently in the other direction. He has bad breath too.
We went into this marriage thinking it was going to be perfect, snow-white daises. Throw them in a vase full of water and the work is done. If it was only that easy. Life happens. Jobs, kids, bills, house, money trouble, health issues, vehicles. You find nothing is easy. I look at those flowers and I think about what life and time have thrown us.
It’s been more than freezing temps. Reg and I both have flaws. We both make mistakes. We struggle. But you know what? We love. Those flowers are a reminder of the good and bad in our lives. The beautiful moments and the not so beautiful moments. Those flowers are the cute little old couple you see in the matching outfits shuffling along holding the hands of each other. You nudge your partner and say “I want that to be us.” I wonder how many dead flowers the cute old couple have been through together?
What you started out with isn’t what you’re going to end up with. Life isn’t always perfect. You have to remember the sweet notes and to take time to smell the dead flowers... and laugh at the dead flowers.
Joanie is just a mom of seven and can be reached and firstname.lastname@example.org