The best section of the store was always the floral department. To me, it was a wonderland on par with Willy Wonka's chocolate factory or Discovery Zone.
I knew these flowers were fake, but that was actually part of the appeal. Their positively impossible colors and waxy leaves made these creations virtually unrecognizable as flowers, yet they had no need for water or sunlight. They were independent, indestructible, and I thought they were beautiful.
In the store, I would rummage to find the perfect bouquet to give to my mom. The way this would work is I would abruptly tell her to go away while I made my selection. I would then present them to her as though I had gone to great lengths, possibly performed some kind of ritual sacrifice, to attain such treasures. She would then be forced to buy my collection of tacky, artificial blooms, and I spent the rest of the day feeling like an absolute hero.
Looking back, making my mother pay for a plastic floral arrangement that she neither needed nor wanted was a ridiculous gesture. Unlike these bogus blossoms, which had no need for any real care, I was completely dependent on my mom, even when it came to giving her a present. When you're a kid, even though you think you are doing something awesome, the truth is usually that you're getting a ton of help from a savvy adult.
|This poor kid thinks he's Tim Duncan.|
After several years, my mom had herself a pretty intense collection of fake flowers, and eventually the top of her closet looked like a Rainforest Cafe. I am sure that, aesthetically, this floral nightmare was repulsive to her, but she was always a great sport about it. I mean, she didn't put them out for actual guests to see, but she always said thank you, and she never once let on that this had turned into a bizarre obsession for me. I wonder to this day how much she spent on these "gifts" for herself.
It goes without saying that my mom is a truly special lady. I knew it as a child, which is why I wanted to give her something pretty, and I know it now, which is why for her birthday today, I sent her this:
A fake cupcake made from REAL flowers. I think I'm getting slightly better at this. I mean, I paid for it and everything.
Happy Birthday, Mom! You really are fabulous!
Feel free to wish my mom (her name is Glenda) a happy birthday in the comments section! Also, let me know what weird gifts you "bought" for your parents as a kid.