You Don’t Bring Me Flowers . . .

Mother's Day, long-stemmed pink rosesIt’s 8 a.m. Mother’s Day morning and the doorbell rings.

Could it be? He didn’t forget, after all?

I check out my appearance in the mirror: make-up free face, frizzy hair, leggings and sweatshirt adorn my body. That poor delivery person.

Nonetheless, I open the front door with bright eyes that grow wider as I see what’s standing in front of me. A young blond-haired man holding a tall glass vase filled with at least a dozen delicate long-stemmed pink roses.

I sigh with relief and relieve the man of his burden. “Thank you so much,” I gush, as if the gift is from him. But he smiles, pleased, as I withhold the question I want to ask: Who sent them?

I’m close to certain that the roses are from my son, who lives thousands of miles away from me literally and at times, figuratively.

Two years ago on Mother’s Day, I never received a card or a gift or any acknowledgement of the day. We’re close, my son and I, but his life is always filled up with wife and three young sons and a “job in finance” and biking and …., well, a LIFE. But. Still. He called me late that night with loving words and apologies and claimed, “your card is right here on my dresser – I forgot to mail it!”

Of course I told him it didn’t matter.

Of course it did. I waited for two weeks for that card. Then I let it go.San Francisco, San Francisco restaurant, mother and son,

Six weeks later, I flew to California and met my darling boy for lunch in the city. We dined on the patio of a waterfront restaurant, staring out at the S.F. Bay and the sailboats, munching on salad and our thoughts. Halfway through the meal, my son exclaimed, “Oh, I almost forgot!” And he handed me his Mother’s Day card.

I wanted to fling it back in his face and say, “Forget it – too late.”

But I didn’t.

I close the front door behind me now, anxious to read the card attached to the vase, which I place gently on the dining room table. I inhale.

The roses don’t matter. They really don’t. I don’t need a gift or a card. I just want the thought – the thought that a mother still matters in a grown man’s heart.

I pick up the card and start to laugh. “To Judy – Happy Mother’s Day. Love, David.”

David and Judy live next door to us.

I pull on my yellow slicker and rain boots and trudge over, knocking gently on their door, enjoying the surprised pleased expression on Judy’s face. “Someone loves you very much,” I tell her with sincere joy.

When I return home and sip on my hot cup of tea, I decide that I’ve just received a lesson. I know my son loves me. He knows I love him. We don’t need cards or roses or …

The phone rings.

Mother's Day, mothers and sons“Mom? Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!”

I laugh out loud.

Lesson learned.

127 thoughts on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers . . .

  1. OK, I have to ask (though I fully realize it puts you in a precarious situation): Flash fiction? True story? Or a combination of the two?

    What you can accomplish in few words, Pam! I love the moment-by-moment self-talk roller coaster. Felt every second of this!

  2. Oh Pam, how wonderfully you tell this story. I am both laughing and feeling the happy tears with you.
    You could have written my story, including flowers, delivery man, card and then the wonderful phone call.❤️
    You are so right in your last realisation. You know you love each other and that is what counts, the tokens are lovely and warming but nothing like the bear hugs when you meet and the warmth and joy of the voices on the phone.
    So May we both cherish having brought up strong and caring sons.
    Miriam. 🌈🌻🌟🌹

  3. Love this story!! My son always remembers Mother’s Day and sends me the most wonderful cards (not picked out by his wife). My daughter’s card is always quite late, but yes, I know she loves me.

  4. Sweet story, Pam. I’m glad he called.
    My husband is the same way with his mother. I have to remind him to call her on Mother’s Day, her birthday, Christmas. . . 🙂

  5. The neighbors’ flowers, oh dear, you have to laugh! For some reason that reminded me of the time the phone company changed my mother’s phone number without telling her (this was in Italy) on her birthday. She spent the day wondering why no one was calling her!!!

  6. Oh Pam, I could relate to this one! I have one too. Yes, I know he loves me …. BUT, it would be nice to be told once in a while. On the other hand, I’m extraordinarily blessed that he still takes the time to come home regularly for family events ❤

  7. Of course, it’s not the flowers. Of course, It’s not the card or the phone call. And of course, you know he loves you, even though he doesn’t always say! I operate on the principle that my family is busy, and I need to let go of expectations. Nine times out of ten, I am not disappointed!

  8. I smiled throughout this post. I’m fortunate that my kids both live in the same city so I get to see them often. I detest the commercializations of these special days and the emotional and financial burdens they bring. Perhaps like you feature in that lovely photo at the end of the post it’s not about things it’s about the relationship.

    • My own commonsense tells me that I should not get sucked up in the commercialization of these “special days,” when in fact we are just fortunate to have a family and love within its members. You are so absolutely correct, Sue. And I’m hoping that as I share my karmic lesson, I learn from it. 🙃

  9. Beautiful and poignant Pam…I love the way you express your feelings, knowing in your heart of hearts that love is there…it always is! I wonder why we keep waiting for the validation each time, cards or flowers or words just reassure us about the bond, which can never be broken, which grows deeper with time and distance, which needs no verifications. Thanks for giving voice to the feelings of all those mothers who keep waiting for a gesture of affection 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thank YOU, Balroop, for understanding my need of mother-son-love validation and yet also knowing that there is no need for such. Sometimes we humans like to make trouble when there is no problem. And by sharing my embarrassment here-I hope I share my lesson of just ‘feeling the love’ and letting everything else go. XO

  10. That is so funny. And soooo relateable. I get a phone call, and it’s enough for my busy kid, her life as a mom keeping her running. I was going to guess that the roses were from your husband. It cracked me up that the neighbor sent them. With neighbors like that, who needs kids and husbands. 😀

  11. I agree with your final realization, Pam. Your son loves you deeply and you love him. No cards or flowers (or lack thereof) can change that!

    • Yes, Carrie. Oh my, and I live right next door practically to Walden Pond and Henry David Thoreau’s reminder of “Simplify Simplify Simplify.” A call, a thought, a love expressed. That’s what’s important. ❤

  12. How sweet… sometimes we do need some acknowledgement. I got to be with my girl this year on Mother’s Day for the first time in 5 years. We live too far apart to make that day a priority when there are birthdays and weddings that take precedence. It was happenstance because she was really here for my graduation the Friday night before. It just so happens that it was Mother’s Day weekend so that worked out well. I have no relationship with my mother. We haven’t spoken in two years…. her choice. Long story that I may write about one day, but not today.
    Happy belated MD my friend.. I am happy you got a well deserved phone call! 🙂 ❤

  13. One of my sons doesn’t do holidays, but in between will send gifts and cards. Sometimes i get a Christmas Card in May, A Mother’s day card in October, etc. It’s actually kind of neat.

    • I think this is REALLY neat, Eileen. And much more thoughtful in so many ways. A Christmas card in May, Mother’s Day card in October – Love It!! Perhaps more of us should ‘not do’ holidays. Much more fun that way, and less hurt feelings. ❤

  14. A story straight from the heart! My son also forgets Mother’s Day – it doesn’t penetrate in the Army. But it always catches me up when he says, “I love you, you know.”

    • Thanks for realizing that my post about Mother’s Day did come straight ‘from the heart’ and wasn’t easy to write (or to admit my need for a reminder of love, when no need existed). You ‘get’ it exactly. And what a wonderful son you have …. of course!

  15. I’m breaking my blog “fast” to comment here. Your son looks and (sometimes) acts like mine – long, handsome face, kind eyes, dark features. Joel is absent-minded but I get cards on time because of his with-it wife Sarah. Bless ’em both!

    • A thoughtful wife helps out many a son. I certainly helped my guy ‘remember’ his cards/calls to his mom. My son’s wife is a busy busy woman with a full-time job and three kids. She’s decided it’s not her job to remind my son, and I can understand that. In some ways, it makes it that much more amazing/special when I get that phone call. 🙂

  16. Oh what a great post. As a mom of three grown men I can totally relate. I know my sons love me but sometimes they forget the call…this year one of them posted two photos of us together, on my facebook page with a touching sincere heartfelt message. Totally made my day!


    • Wow! That Facebook message was really special. My son won’t come near Facebook. Sons are so close to us in so many ways, and yet sometimes have a difficult time showing that. 💚

  17. Life is a blessing and sometimes the best surprises aren’t on the appropriate day but they come in loud and clear!The twist with bouquet intended for the neighbor’s wife made me laugh, Pam! 🙂

    • Fortunately, the mis- delivered flowers made me laugh too, Robin! Hope you had a great Mother’s Day. It’s a funny little Hallmark holiday but great for flower shops … 😏

  18. Pam, this post has me tearing up and giggling at the same time! 😀Those beautiful flowers…from your kind loving neighbours and then the phone call from your son. Yeah!! Roller-coaster emotions of being a mother. As a teenager, my son still remembers mother’s day (with a bit of prompting) and for the first time actually went out and bought a present himself alone and with his money!! That alone made me heart sing…as did getting breakfast in bed (albeit mostly prepared by my hubby!). Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day and so glad you got a chance to talk to your busy son! You’re always in his heart and thoughts…he just doesn’t get time to show it much. sigh.

  19. I just found your wonderful blogsite. What a great story and thanks for the chuckle. Coming from a man; I wonder, if the traditional gift for Mother’s Day was a screwdriver or perhaps golf clubs, then we might be more likely to remember.

    • Yes, we have a much better chance of communication re our kids with texts these days. Ahh, the world is a’changing. Me? I’ll stay with snail mail letters and sweet phone calls… (as well as the texts!) 🙂

  20. what a sweet story. the attachment is definitely not a once a year thing. I like to know everyday in my heart who I matter to and know they care. and vice vesrsa. can’t wait for a card to remind of that

  21. Oh Pam! As I read this post I kept thinking “How wonderful that your son remembered Mother’s Day this year and brought you flowers!” Then I read that the bouquet came from your neighbors and, well, I was like “nooooo!” ~SO GLAD he called in the end.. As it is the THOUGHT that matters most ~ Way more than a card or flowers. I always phone my mom and if I cannot see her on the day then I make a point to see her within a day or two. It’s the hug I cherish giving her more than anything. Beautiful post xx

  22. Oh this is just gorgeous – I love that mixture of humour, tenderness, love… I agree, those closest to us know we love them, and we know they love us, but it really doesn’t do any harm to affirm it now and again!! So glad you got the call, and I shared your joy in delivering flowers, in boots and no make up, to Judy next door. Much love to you, Harula x

  23. Oh my! The same thing happened to me one year! So, if it’s happened to both of us- just think how many times there are sad and disappointed people! There’s the person who thought they got flowers and then had to give them back and the person who thought they had been forgotten- well at least they had the happy ending! Good post! I guess the days of macaroni arts and crafts were the best gifts! Good post!

  24. What a beautiful story. It reminds me of the love between partners, where the thought counts and the gift is appreciated, but where deep love always exists, even when not expressed! Glad to see that you still make it to the Bay area once in a while!

    • As often as possible. I have a few favorite seals to bark back to, and a pelican family to check on. AND, my son is taking me out for dinner when I come out in two weeks – just the two of us. Best Mother’s Day gift ever. ❤

      • That is awesome. And, once again, you were not forgotten. 🙂 Have fun with the sea lions and pelicans. We will be happy to be back in the Bay Area on June 21st!

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