How Roses Can Teach You What You Need to Know About Love…Getting and Keeping It

roses and a book



I’ve been told this post was the most important one I’ve ever written…it certainly was a critical life lesson for me.  I’m reposting it for you this Valentine’s Day…


FTD must have been the original St. Valentine, or the Saint was a hell of an entrepreneur.


Roses are synonymous with The Big Red Heart day. Thanks to the media, not a man alive escapes the message that your sweetheart will give you ANYTHING if you remember the roses. And, according to Valentine’s Day rules, the ones in buckets at the local grocery store don’t count.

Well, I certainly believed that my husband knew that, but in case he didn’t, as we strolled by the downtown florist I “oooed” and “ahhhed” over those “roses in the window”. Now, I was SURE he got the message!

Enter V Day in rural Maine. The year, 1983. It was the same year we had purchased our first desktop computer and Dell became a household word. I was like a kid playing in the mud about that computer. A burgeoning writer, the idea of never again using carbon paper and easy editing was almost orgasmic.

I woke up to the second day of a Nor’easter. The lake in front of our house was frozen solid, the roads plowed during the night were now piling up with snow once again. My first thought was that those florist delivery trucks would make it no matter what. So, the titillating wait began.

My husband dressed and shoveled his way to the car heading for the hospital where he worked. I guessed he was preoccupied with weather when he didn’t mention Valentine’s Day, so I let it go. The roses would mend everything.

Not only were there no florist delivery vans on the road that day, but it was hard for a snow plow to stay upright. As darkness came and it was time for my husband’s return from work, I put on a little black dress, opened a bottle of wine and put the kids to bed. On the counter was a lovely crystal vase just waiting for those roses.

The door opened and brushing off the snow, he said, “What’s for dinner?” What???  OK, he was going to surprise me. The roses were in the car and I began to worry that they would freeze, but poured us both a glass of wine. Since he hadn’t said those magic words, “Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.” I took the initiative (It was the era of feminism after all).

He then pulled a brown paper bag out of his briefcase and handed it to me with a smile and a toast. I couldn’t believe what I pulled out of that bag…a book! Are you kidding me, I thought. A book! It was an early version of Computers for Dummies.  That is second only to a blender for your anniversary. I was surprised, disappointed and really pissed and it all came rolling out of my mouth. “You got me a BOOK for Valentine’s Day?” I said. And then I saw his face lose all signs of life and joy. As he walked away, I felt so ashamed and yet, I was still filled with disappointment and confusion.  How could he not know I wanted roses for Valentine’s Day? Remember the walk by the florist window?  Any man with a brain should know his sweetheart wants roses.After what seemed like hours, he reappeared and we sat down to a cold dinner, half a candle and a Golden Retriever who had retreated under the table. “Donna, do you know what I went through to get you that book? I wanted you to enjoy the computer because I know how important writing is to you, so I drove in a blizzard all the way to Boston (almost 200 miles) to get this book for you. I thought you would appreciate it, but I can see you don’t.”

My heart sank. I knew that all the apologies in the world could not make up for the words I could never take back.

That day my life changed in ways that were profound and permanent. For the first time I knew that men want to make us happy. That they have their own ways of showing love. That they cannot read our minds. That our expectations of them are based not on their world, but on our preconceived notions of what love looks like.

That Valentine’s Day love came from Barnes and Noble, not from TeleFlora. It came with such beautiful  intention and thought. All I had to do was be open to what HE called love. It changed me forever and though I am still waiting for those roses, I know that one day a new love will bring them my way.

Please post this on your social media sites if you think it will bring a better Valentine’s Day to those you know and love! Thank you.


Happy Valentine’s Day

If you are tired of spending Valentine’s Day alone and ready to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, let’s talk about how to get yon there!

Call 510-817-4242 or email me at and I’ll send you my Love Readiness Quiz!

Donna Bailey, M.S

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair 

What Are You Waiting For??

Anne Lamott


Begin now!




So many times we say, “It’s too late to do that now.” Maybe it’s time for  you to go pick out your urn? 


Too late for law school, hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, beginning the business that has always been what you wanted to do but never did? 


I always vision The White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” Who else is telling you it is too late? FEAR, the voice that kept you from doing it before your tummy jiggled and you finally gave in to Viagra. 


Life is precious, shorter than most would like, and every time you open your eyes and realize you have been given another precious day, take a look at that list gathering dust and find one small step you can take toward getting on that trail, filling out that application, buying a canvas and some paints, submitting that photograph…


Don’t die of a broken heart….

THAT DAY is Right Around the Corner

 Valentines Day with Penny


Even when we can’t remember our own birthday or the day our children were born, none of us ever forgets what February 14 is all about. 


What does this Valentine’s Day look like for you?

A. You have a dinner reservation at your favorite restaurant (which means the man you love thought ahead…how sweet is that?).

B. You plan on going to bed before dark so you don’t have to eat by yourself in your apartment.

C. Your fingers, toes and legs are crossed, hoping the guy you have been dating will ask you out…and maybe bring you one of those “The Bachelor” roses.

D. You just got back from purchasing a dozen darts and plan to go to Safeway and pop every one of those friggin’ Valentine’s Day Mylar balloons!


If you answered A, I hope you feel the sheer joy and gratitude of being in a loving relationship with a very thoughtful man. My advice is to stop reading this blog right now and go pick out your Valentine’s Day outfit!


Any other answer…well, here is my best wisdom on this absolutely “abusive” holiday. Think Hallmark. They invented this day that has become the number one day for florists nationwide. And be grateful that you won’t be standing in line at a restaurant that has overbooked and overcharged. I know, you wouldn’t mind the wait, right? 


Return to your sweet self. On this day you need more than anything to find ways to nurture and love yourself. Here are some things that have worked for me over the years…and believe me, I have spent many Valentine’s Days without a life partner: 

1.  Invite your girlfriends over who are also single and buy LOTS of chocolate. Give each of them a V Day gift that says, “Even if I had a lover, I would never desert you for him/her”.

2. Make a list of people you love and who love you. Children, friends, co-workers, your local grocer, the guy at the wine bar that serves you that fabulous Merlot, the local hangout where you go for pasta when you are exhausted, even ex-boyfriends who still love you.

3. List as many things as you can for which you are grateful.

4. Buy yourself flowers and a lovely candle and light it while you enjoy dinner and a good Netflix movie. Yes, you can select a Chick Flick and cry your eyes out. Feelings are encouraged.


There is no substitute for love, and some years it simply must come from ourselves. Have courage and faith that if you really want a wonderful life partner, you can have that. For this one day, remember that he/she is out there getting through yet another Valentine’s Day and keeping the fire lit that will help him/her find you.