The Lesson of the Supermarket Flowers


My lovely husband of five years came a little late to the party of bringing me flowers, but now does it wonderfully regularly. And then he brought me a bunch from the supermarket.

“They’re only from the supermarket…” he muttered apologetically, holding them out.

My reaction surprised him.

I did what I always do, and pounced, with much kissing and hugging.

Yes – flowers from the flower shop are lovely. All flowers are lovely. But let’s think about this bunch. It’s the end of a long, long day, and my husband is doing a supermarket run before coming home. The day that’s been is on his mind; he’s exhausted; he’s trying to remember whether it was one bottle of milk and two loaves of bread, or two bottles of milk and one loaf of bread; he’s negotiating a supermarket full of tired, hungry people doing the same thing; an Air Supply song is playing over the PA; and he suddenly thinks of me. That thought of me somehow manages to pierce through all the mental, emotional, and literal noise, and he chooses a bunch of flowers to bring home. To me. Me.

Hence the pouncing.

Grand gestures are just grand, but they aren’t what set us apart for the people around us, whether they are loved ones or clients. What sets us apart are these regular thoughtful actions, often made when it isn’t convenient and the time isn’t right, and when we’d be quite justified in just thinking of ourselves and the million things we’ve got going on. They are actions that pierce through the noise to tell us, “You are important.”

Here’s to making those gestures, and recognising them when they happen.

Happy Valentine’s Day.