HomeLetters to My DaughterBuy the Roses

Buy flowers for yourself. I used to wait for someone to send me flowers. My story was that if someone sent me flowers, I would know that I am loved, that someone is thinking of me, that someone cares. One day, I passed the roadside vendor selling roses for $5. I had passed that vendor every day for months, each time telling myself that it was frivolous to spend that kind of money on myself. Excuse after excuse, day after day. I was still waiting for someone to buy flowers for me, to love me, to think of me, to care.

One day, that someone was me.


I made a u-turn and went back on my way to work. Tentatively, I handed the guy a five dollar bill. He looked at me, then turned to his display. Without speaking, he handed me a dozen white roses. They are still the most beautiful roses I have ever seen. I cradled them in my arms, tender as a newborn. In gratitude, their fragrance wafted into my nostrils. I was transfixed by those roses. I still get teary thinking about it.

I took those roses to work and arranged them in a vase at my desk. Leaning in frequently throughout the day, I inhaled their beauty. Co-workers asked who had sent them. No one believed I had bought them for myself. Rumors of a secret admirer circulated. My value points went up dramatically that day. Men were suddenly interested. Women were jealous.

Not that their opinions mattered. What mattered is that I had finally valued myself. The lesson cost five dollars and is still with me. That may have been the best five dollars I’ve ever spent. Buy the roses. You are worth it.


© Joanna Hackley Davis, 132 Keys; Letters to My Daughter 2016


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