The Last Bouquet

I don’t think I was expecting this to hit me like it did.

Sixteen years ago, when the oldest of my three girls was in third grade, I saw how Valentines Day was a ‘big deal’ to celebrate here in the school system; even in the younger grades. Seems like there were lots of ‘boyfriends’ and ‘girlfriends’ exchanging gifts, balloons, flowers, etc.

Well, my girls didn’t need ‘boyfriends’ at that age so I decided that I would fill that need for the time being.

What a treat it was to see the face of my firstborn that day when I entered into her classroom, dressed to the hilt in my black double-breasted suit and made my way over to her desk with a single wrapped rose and gave her a hug and a kiss in front of all her classmates, and her teary-eyed teacher.

I was hooked.

So for the past sixteen years, all three of my girls have grown to expect with anticipation this annual ritual.

Call it laziness, but I did shed the dressing up in a suit several years back. And on their senior year, they get a dozen roses.

So today, I delivered my last bouquet.

I even planned ahead this year, having brought them (the dozen roses) to my classroom where I teach the night before since I drive a bus this year as well and logistically, faced a few more challenges.

But I was not disappointed by the glowing smile of Daughter # 3.

It was special, as always.

I … just didn’t anticipate the tears that would flow as I made my way back across the campus grounds realizing that today was the end of an era.— an era that I will treasure always as I am hopeful that my three gifts from heaven will as well.