Did you know Tulips symbolize perfect love?
I was so relieved.
One of the reasons I hate roses, especially red, is that my mom is a fragrance woman, a practical woman as well, and a lover of trinkets and Christmas ornaments and books, especially the Classics, and of a nice robe, and she just thought that with four kids and of the many things she needed, it was silly to buy 50 dollars of roses that would just rot and die.
So, every year, on every birthday and every Valentine’s day and every Anniversary since I was about eleven or twelve, being the oldest, I would beg him NOT TO BUY HER RED ROSES.
That is a lot of occasions if you add them up in a year since eleven.
And he would agree every time. And every year, the front door would ring, the dogs would go crazy barking, and she would sigh.
Then, she would look at me and smile sweetly. “Your father,” she’d say. She always arranged them beautifully and put them in a vase, and she never said anything unkind.
He would come in the door, three occasions a year, and say “Hey, did you get the flowers?” and she would say, “Thank you, David, they are beautiful.”
And year by year, I would find out little things just by growing older, the remarks of, “Honey, why not get me pink roses? I REALLY love pink roses.”
So, I would say to him, “DAD! GET MOM PINK ROSES, PLEASE!!!!”
And red roses would show up.
And there were the times that were good and then the tough, when I would hear her say, “Honey, please don’t buy me flowers this year, really. I don’t need anything at all and we really need to be saving for this or that,” and the door bell would ring or he would cut cost and walk in with them, like a war hero, waving them in the air like an idiot.
And one day, I came home for a visit from college and there were gorgeous white and pink and lavender roses, and I just looked at her in shock and she would laugh.
“I bought them, sweetie!” she would say.
It became a big joke, for her to have something she wanted for once, because he never ever listened and it would infuriate me.
And I noticed one year that she didn’t have a stocking, while ours were filled and overflowing with Santa love, and I would ask her, “Why, not?” and she would smile and just say she loved watching me open mine.
So, I asked Dad to get her a stocking every year, and my heart would burn every year after that, when she would bring him coffee on Christmas morning and nothing would be there for her.
And then, something strange happened to me in my own marriage. It was a horrible year, and we were doing terrible in every area of life, and quite frankly, its shocking to look back and realize that we screamed the way we did, and how ugly it got.
And he did the unpardonable crime.
I asked for a date night for our anniversary where he would plan it and we could go on a date, just us, with Kat safe and entertained, a movie night, with maybe a margarita or two and I got a new dress. I was so excited.
He came home at 7:30 that night with you guessed it, clear wrap, flowers that had thorns, and I swear to God I blacked out in rage. I threw them at him.
“YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME, I SCREAMED!” and he screamed, “NOTHING IS EVER ENOUGH” and I hated him. He hated me.
I cried all night and now I see the symbols everywhere I was unconscious of then.
And at the very end, on last Mother’s Day, my Dad had broken his promise AGAIN, and we already were attempting a restraining order, and Divorce as frantic over how to get this man to leave us alone, and he broke into our garage, and left two dozen roses, a dozen red for mom, and a dozen white for me.
It would be the last time he brought them to her and my mom marveled because he brought yellow, not red, and we knew that was so bizarre, and then she called me in to the kitchen, cutting them like always, but this time, she opened her mouth in shock and said, “Katie, count them!” I counted them.
1-2-3 all the way to 13. 13 roses. In numerology, the 13 symbolizes death.
And where in God’s name do you find 13 roses anyways? Who miscounted while wrapping them up at Kroger?
And so, that is when my auntie that same night had the dream about the one tulip, coming through the snow. In the dream, my mom was singing the song of the Resurrection, and I looked up the meaning of the tulip, curious, and it said, “the flower symbolic of perfect love.”
So, tonight, before I go to bed, I am sending my father a tulip, forgiving him and myself for the billionth time. Somehow, I have to believe that something perfect will come from all this pain, all this heartache. I must believe that tomorrow,
I will awaken and no matter what the outcome, I will have risen.
I love you.