My view of the world through words & photos
After Bill and I had our first date over the Memorial Day weekend, he sent flowers to me at work. The card said he was looking forward to seeing me again soon. I was floored. I had never dated a guy who sent flowers without a mandatory holiday requirement.
A month after our first date, a single rose in a vase with greens and baby’s breath arrived at my office. The note said “Happy 1 Month Anniversary!” How sweet, I thought.
As we neared the 12-month mark, I received an engagement ring.
Then the roses started arriving again each month…one for each month we were engaged.
During the 11th month, we were married. (I used to tease Bill that it took three years before I got a dozen roses from him for our anniversary.)
For my birthday, our anniversary and Valentine’s Day, I came to anticipate a floral delivery. Sometimes, it would be a dozen red roses. Sometimes it was a mix of red, pink and white roses. For our anniversary, the Stargazer Lily was a prominent part of the arrangement since it was the main flower in my wedding bouquet. When money was tight, Bill found a small wholesaler and kept his tradition alive by personally delivering the flowers. If I was home sick from work on the special day, he remembered to call the florist and have the delivery made at home so I wouldn’t miss one day of the flowers’ beauty.
I’m not sharing this to make him out to be a saint. (Although, many of the women I worked with told their husbands and boyfriends about his actions. And many of the men I worked with told Bill that his actions were making them look bad.) I’m sharing this because some of the things I miss so much are the traditions Bill started and perpetuated during our lives together. And while the things he gave me were beautiful, the most beautiful part was the fact that he started these traditions as a sign of his love for me.
Like many men, talking about his feelings was not an easy thing for him to do. We could talk for hours about a multitude of topics, but talking about his feelings was a topic that never received a lot of time. Instead, he showed me how much he loved me by remembering special events…even if they were ones he created himself.
Celebrating monthly anniversaries before we were married sounded like something that high school kids do when they’re dating. Bill made those days special because they marked the growing number of days we were together. We weren’t kids when we met. When we were married, I was in my late 20s and he was in his early 40s. (Yes, there was a 13-year difference in our ages.)
One of Bill’s traditions occurred each Christmas when gave me jewelry. After the kids were born, he made sure I received a piece of jewelry from him and one from the kids. He also worked it out with my dad, who plays Santa and distributes the gifts from under the tree, for his gift to be given to me last. Rarely was the jewelry flamboyant – he wasn’t that type of person. The pieces were often something I might have admired months earlier, or contain a stone that I had commented on at some point.
So, understanding that it was his thoughtful actions, not the money he spent, you may understand why I was feeling a wistful as Christmas approached last year. As the family opened presents, Bill would not be sitting by my side for the first time in more than 20 years. And there wasn’t going to be a special small box at the end of the distribution of presents when my husband would watch me with eager eyes to see if he had once again given me a special memory in the form of a shiny gift. That was never going to happen again.
Never say never, the old saying goes. At the end of the present distribution, I received a small box which I opened as my daughter watched with the same type of eager eyes her dad had always had on Christmas Eve. Inside the box was a beautiful silver and crystal bracelet. When I pulled it out, she said she wanted me to have some jewelry for Christmas since that’s what dad had always given me. Needless to say, my tears flowed.
Today, my beautiful daughter turns 14. And while she looks a great deal like me, her beautiful heart is filled with her dad’s thoughtfulness and love.