Bouquets never picked

My husband, like my father, isn't the type to shout love from the rooftops. For some reason, after the intensity of our whirlwind 3-month courtship, replete with love letters, weird packages from Seattle, and phone conversations that lasted for hours, I found it hard to adjust to the whispers my new husband proffered.

And then one spring, my yard burst into flames.

The orange, red, yellow of the tulips blazed all across my front lawn, and I wrote about what it meant to me. Those blooms exploded the box I had put love into, and the shrapnel is still somewhat disturbing, every spring.

"Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens". Yellow crocuses holding rain like a promise or a prayer. Unexpected shoots of tended love cropping up in the most unusual places.

I hear it in the dishes being loaded late at night. The bedtime story being read - through corrections - to children who should have long ago been in bed. I see it in the callouses of hands at Christmas, bearing something wrought of oak and discipline and love. I know it when he calls me to bed too early, and wakes me up before the sun. I hear it in the stress over work unfinished, and in the pride in work well done.

He invited me in, to share this life. Side by side, shouldering burdens and pushing away grief. Every yellow crocus in the middle of my front lawn is the jewel in my crown, as beloved, cherished, lavished upon.