I was more than a little taken by the arrival of the bouquet, and immediately informed my mother that I wanted flowers with roses for my upcoming birthday.
My mother was indulgent enough to say "sure sweetie" at the time, and went along with her life without giving it much of a second thought.
A few weeks prior to my birthday itself we were in a Toys-R-Us shopping for a friend's birthday present, and she asked me what I wanted for mine.
I got as indignantly outraged as a any nearly-three-year-old can possibly be, and firmly stated (probably with my hands on my hips and while stomping my little pink sneakered foot) that I had already TOLD HER what I wanted for my birthday, flowers with roses.
(I can't imagine why my mother thinks my own children's moments of especially opinionated sassyness are hilarious.... *ahem*)
And then lo and behold, my birthday rolled around and I had a very special delivery of flowers complete with three pink roses to my very own preschool, which made me the most
The next year, I got 4 yellow roses nestled together in a tall vase. Or was that for my 5th birthday? My 6th was pink again, and they came in a little basket delivered to our house where I promptly dropped it and snapped off a rose and was very distraught over the whole thing.
Every year was another bouquet with another rose, each was unique, and every year I would count the roses to make extra sure there were the right number.
When I turned 17 and had my very first part time job, they showed up at my work. When I was 21, they arrived at my condo in Iowa.
And then they stopped for a few years.
Peter remembered that he was supposed to do this for me now the first year we were married. I reminded him of it the second. And then.... then we started to fall apart, and flowers for a birthday just didn't seem very important any more.
Except that they were important, I just didn't remember until there were the birthdays that came and went without roses, without cake, without anyone really bothering to make them special for me.
And then last month I turned 27.
I wasn't particularly excited about the prospect, as it was moving me from my mid-twenties to my late-twenties and I'm still a little discombobulated by the idea that I'm not just a dumb punk kid anymore.
(Did I really become an adult? When the hell did that happen, and how did I miss it? I must have been too busy having babies and moving across the country and getting a divorce to notice......)
But then I came home from work.
Kristina had wanted to surprise me, so everyone was crouched down behind the half wall that separates the kitchen from the dinning room, and there was a brief but true moment of puzzlement when I walked in the door and didn't have have my usual small person mauling (heck, they usually meet me at the garage door, before I even get inside!) until I heard Kristina whispering and I broke into a smile guessing what they were up to.
And then she and Adrianna VERY enthusiastically jumped up saying "surprise surprise!" and ran over to give me my customary hugs.
On the kitchen table was a very chocolately cake, some brightly wrapped packages, and a vase holding 27 yellow roses.
The blue-ray player my parents got for me is just great, and my dad had even hooked it up for me before I got home so I wouldn't have to fuss with it while my mom still wrapped up the empty box so it would be a real present for me. The girls had each picked out a pretty hair clip and colored cards, and the cake was delightfully chocolate (and I didn't even drop it!).
And the 27 roses (I counted them) meant the world to me that day.