The Day the Flowers Died…

To be honest, I had two ideas for my February blog post. I think I just may write them both before March marches in. I told my kiddos that one of my 2023 goals was to write “at least one” blog entry each month, so I’ll write two in month #2 [However, I doubt I’ll be writing 10 in October or 12 in December.]

I’m predicting that the title did not make you think this would be a Valentine’s Day post. Am I right?

For those who know me, I’ve never really been a fan of this month’s holiday. Those friends may be surprised by this post, or … perhaps if they know me well, they saw it coming.

To begin, the teacher in me had to look into this holiday that I’ve dreaded for over 30 years.

I was surprised to find that it has both Christian and Roman connections in its heritage. There were three Valentines that possibly could have been the namesake of this holiday. One legend decrees that a Valentine who was in prison sent the first “valentine” after he fell in love with a young lady who may have been the jailer’s daughter. Legend says she would visit him while he was imprisoned causing love to bloom. [And all together, “Awww.”] Later, before his death, it is speculated that he sent a message to his “love” and signed it “Your Valentine.” [Ahh, even if it’s not true, that’s a great connecter.]

However, opposing stories suggest that the Christian church scheduled the day in the middle of February to try and make a pagan celebration “more Christian.” The pagan celebration focused on Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and it was known as a fertility festival [Say what?].

Centuries pass, and it’s now a holiday that kids celebrate in elementary school. It’s a holiday where florists, restaurants, and other stores may increase their prices due to the increase in demand for their services. [Wow, this would be a GREAT illustration for an elementary economics lesson.]

For years, I would either grab an early dinner with a friend before all the couples arrived or I would simply go home & make dinner for….one.

Perhaps, it was part of my single-girl-struggle that made me become anti-Valentine’s. Perhaps it’s because I don’t understand why flowers or meals that cost one amount this week can cost so-much-more a couple weeks ago?

But…here’s what I do know.

This year, on Valentine’s Day, I was sitting at my desk during recess-work room, and one of the school secretaries walked in with a lovely vase of flowers. I asked who they were for (as in previous years, I’ve had kids who would receive flowers from their parents), and she replied, “They’re for you, Ms. Pflaumer.” The vase was filled with a “very Jodi” bouquet of flowers. They weren’t roses (that would make me sneeze), but it was a lovely mixture of pink and purple flowers -but mostly purple.

My kids were quick to notice as they walked in after recess and eagerly said…
“Are those from Joe?” {He rewarded them in October with a pizza party for meeting their AR goals.}
“I know they are; I see his name!”
“Oooo, he added purple!”
Then, together there was a big, “Awww.”

Now, it wasn’t the first time I received flowers at work. My family sent me roses, I believe, back in 1996 when I was hired. Then, Laura gave me a vase of purple tulips as a thank you for something. Likewise, my friend Sherry sent me flowers as a “thank you” for helping her update her resume. But…there was something special about this vase of flowers. Maybe…it was the color…or perhaps the one who sent them?

After dismissal, I went to Hickory Creek Senior Care Facility to make my usual Tuesday visit. However, it was cut short due to needing to get home and change clothes. Ms. Betty, aka Joe’s mom, told me as I left, “Go home and get ‘dolled up’ and ‘dress to the nines’ . Then you two have fun.”

Well, I didn’t take her exact advice, but I did go home and change from my jeans and “My Students Stole My Heart” shirt into something “nicer.” I was picked up a bit before 5 and enjoyed dinner at Clifty Inn. As we waited in line, we chuckled over the fact that most couples dining at 5 were older than us. We laughed because we both go to sleep…early and get up way before the sun does. Dinner was good. The salad & dessert were probably the best parts of the meal, but the company and conversation were my favorite part of the day…well…that and my flowers.

After he left from taking me home, I pondered my day. I realized it was the first time I was ending it without feeling “woe-is-me” or “sad-to-be-single” or “anti-valentines-day”. It wasn’t because of the “holiday,” but it was simply because I shared it with someone who has a special place in my heart. Someone who took the time to make me feel special. Maybe…I’ll be pro-Valentine’s Day now? We shall see…

Alas, this morning, as I was getting ready to head to work. I looked at my vase of flowers. Slowly over the past week, I’ve had to toss flowers into the trash. [Purple flowers outlasted the pink ones…just sayin’.] I’ve had to shut them in the living room to avoid my PURRfect roomies chewing them up and later…spitting them out. Yes, this morning, it was clear that….the flowers had died. It was a sad moment as I tossed them in the trash. But…they made me think.

Flowers….are temporary, but relationships last. And…my pictures and memories of the first Valentine’s Day that didn’t….stink… will remain.

In the end, why wait until “Valentine’s Day” to make someone feel special? Who can you show your appreciation to today? How can you convey your feelings to someone? Do it. Why wait? And…if you happen to give them a vase of purple flowers, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. Just sayin’….

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