She always loved flowers

June 4, 2021


In the photo on my desk, my son Joe was 9 years old, wearing a baseball cap twisted backwards and baggy old hand-me-down jeans. Flip flops finished his scruffy-kid look. In his hands, he clutched a bouquet of red camellias picked from the neighbor’s yard. There was a soft almost embarrassed smile on his face.

There’s nothing sweeter than a little boy who picks flowers for his mother, and I did what mothers are supposed to do. I found a beautiful vase and made a big deal about arranging them and displaying the bouquet in a place of honor. When he brought me flowers, it was one time he’d still allow me to cuddle and kiss him without much fuss. Flowers in exchange for a kiss. It was a good deal for us both. 

If a child hears, “That’s just a bunch of old weeds, throw them out!” they’ll hesitate to give again. But when we welcome their basic blossoms with honor, we are nurturing a generous person. Don’t we need more of those?

When my friend discovered she and her husband were expecting a baby boy, I thought of all the bouquets she’d receive over the next few years and I knew I had to find the perfect bud vase for her. I carefully wrapped it and wrote this note to tuck inside:  

She Always Loved Flowers

The vase looks fragile but will hold  

wild roadside flowers and

common weeds 

of every scraggly kind.


Flowers picked from the neighbor’s yard 

and blossoms snitched from the church altar

while you turned your back for one second

will look like precious jewels.

Presented with dirty, sticky hands,

twinkling eyes and a

mischievous grin,

he’ll hand you love on stems.


A fistful of weeds will say, “I’m sorry” 

wild violets will explain, “I love you” 

daisies will shout, “I need your attention” 

and a camellia begs, “will you hold me?”


By placing his flower in a special vase, 

you’ll be telling him how much he’s valued. 

To Mom, it’s not just some old weed 

It’s a piece of his heart. 


Small things are important 

just like him, and

there’s a reason to celebrate 

everything God has made 


The weeds and flowers

Thorns, vines and 

leaves may not be perfect

but he is.


The vase looks valuable but 

what it holds is

a piece of his heart 

which is priceless. 


Finding value in the common 

Will help him grow a heart for others.

And someday, he’ll take this vase to his house and say,
“my mother always loved it when I brought her flowers.”

This story first appeared in newspapers in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville

  • Leslie Anne, what a sweet post! This is such a good reminder to all of us that every single word we say and everything we do either builds up our children or not. It makes them who they are.

    Your friends are so blessed by you, you have given such a wonderful gift to this new mom, she will cherish every single bouquet or single flower. I love it!
    xo Lidy

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks so much Lidy. You are right about children remembering our words.

  • Roxanne Bernard says:

    This is so precious, I love it Leslie Anne. Lucky are the women who marry the sons you have raised to be kind and thoughtful. Family lore has it that I picked tulips for my mother from our grumpiest neighbor’s yard, and we had to go hand-in-hand to apologize.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Hi Roxanne! Thanks so much for the kind thoughts, and I love your tulip story. I hope the neighbor’s heart was softened by your sweetness. Who could be mean to a flower picking child?

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Oh, I hope they were good tears! Thanks for reading.

  • Peggy Vogle says:

    This is my favorite post of yours, Leslie Anne (until next time)! I love your free verse. I can just picture those adorable little boys bringing their beautiful mother fresh picked flowers!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Peggy. For some reason, it was excluded from today’s printed newspaper, so I’m glad you found it here. Thanks for reading, and I’m sure your girls did the same thing for their sweet mother!

  • Such a sweet article. There is a special bond between a mom and her son. This reminded me of a girl I worked with for years. She had three sons. She passed away my last year of work and it was just awful…such a happy person each day at work. At her funeral it was mentioned she gave teacups to as gifts to boy moms to remind them to slow down and enjoy their coffee/tea in a pretty cup as most of their lives would be boy things.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks so much Sandy. This is a great story and I’m sure I would have loved your friend. What a great attitude.

  • Leslie Anne, what a precious post. We were married thirteen years before we had our only child, a son. We were told we would never have children, but God’s timetable and plans are perfect. I am so happy for your friend. Your gift will bring sweet tears.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Pam. This couple will be wonderful parents and their son is already cherished. Good to hear from you!

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