At church, Mothers’ Day means bunches of flowers during Sacrament meeting. I haven’t ever given it much thought, until this year – Tim’s Elders’ Quorum responsibilities include Mothers’ Day flower providing. It goes without saying that it’s the wife of the Elders’ Quorum President who actually does the flower providing. I suspected when Tim first told me about his assignment that it might become more stressful than promised, and yes, so it was. Here’s how the weekend went.
I arrive home on Friday, tired but with the twin euphorias of reaching the weekend and wearing my pretty new coat (such shiny buttons. It’s beautiful). I ask about flowers. Tim brings out a smallish package of 70 daffodils with an air of ‘job done’. I yelp. We need 70 bunches, not 70 flowers. ‘One flower is enough, is it not?’ asks my confused husband. It is not. One closed daffodil doth not a Mothers’ Day make. I ask him whether he called the people who did the flowers last year. He denies I ever asked him to do such a thing. He is cross. I have disparaged his flower-getting efforts. I am cross. He has pricked my weekend bubble, and there are not enough flowers. We both resort to our crossness activities: too weary to glower behind a book, I sulk-sleep for the next hour. Tim goes out and cleans the car to an angry-looking shine. We rub along irritatedly for the rest of the evening – eat dinner, go out to choir practice and squawk through The Messiah for 90 minutes. Afterwards my mood is improved: I have received flower advice from others, and feel better. Tim is cross. The unfeasibly high tenor line has rendered his throat muscles useless. He is not a eunuch, nor does he wish to be one. We retire to bed in ill humour.
We spend Saturday morning at the Temple. It is calming, but not calming enough: visions of withered daffodils keep dancing through my head (Wordsworth in reverse). Should I have put the ones we have in water? Where will we get the rest from? The questions go unanswered, because I keep them in my head. By the time we’ve had lunch, visited the bookshop and driven home, it is 3.30pm. We head to the nearest florist, which has run out of daffodils. It is not entirely surprising that a florist has run out of daffodils at 4pm the day before Mothers’ Day, I think. I decide not to say this out loud. The second florist has no daffodils. I say it anyway. I regret it instantly: there is now a minor rivulet of panic visible underneath Tim’s nonchalance. We find daffodils finally in a ratty-looking florist down a back street in Tilehurst. They look suspiciously emaciated to me, but we buy them anyway. The proprietors, a husband and wife, are so lovely to us that I feel guilty for the ‘ratty-looking’ comment. I have taken off my three-inch stilettos, and stand barefoot in the shop. I had not planned on doing so much walking today.
We are home by 4.45pm. We are both restrainedly cross. We spend some time searching for a suitable yay-womanhood quotation to print out on little pieces of card for each bunch of daffodils. Tim goes off to church to print them out. I change my clothes and start cleaning the house: we have people coming this evening, and everything is everywhere. When Tim gets back, I am hoovering sweatily in an almost-tidy house. He tells me everything looks great. I feel slightly better. We spend two hours slicing and hole-punching quotes, trimming daffodils, tying bunches of three together with ribbon, and putting them in water. I am surprised to find that daffodils exude some kind of viscous spit, and that it is all over my arms. I am more surprised to find that I don’t really mind. I am not cross. The bunches look ok. Our friends arrive. They approve the bunches. Neither of us are cross. The daffodils survive the night, and are given out as promised on Sunday morning.
I have always known that my mother is a far better person than I will ever be, but it’s nice to be reminded of the fact on Mothers’ Day. I have countless memories of Mum running around frantically organising something for church, making lists and phone calls and, one time, breaking her foot on Rob’s lego as she was rushing to prepare for the primary presentation. I don’t remember her ever sulk-sleeping or taking out her panic on me. The daffodil horror would’ve been handled quite differently by my mother: superwoman.
That said, next year we’re buying plastic ones and collecting them all up at the end.