Matt hadn’t been eavesdropping; there was just no way he could help overhearing the ladies at a lunch table behind him. They were young, working mothers and they were talking about all the demands placed on them and how they felt about it. What he heard shocked him. Did Katie feel the same way even though she was a stay-at-home-mom? He jotted down some notes as the ladies behind him thoughtfully finished their conversation with things they wished their husbands would do for them.
On his way home from work Matt stopped and bought Katie roses. She would be surprised since he hadn’t given her roses since Mark, their oldest, had been born three years ago.
“Daddy!” Mark and Luke, who was a year-and-a-half, ran to greet him when he walked in the door. Katie called out a hello from the kitchen, over the fussing of baby Becky.
Matt brought the roses into the kitchen, stopped in the doorway and looked around, astounded by the mess. “What on earth happened here?” The Tupperware cabinet had been emptied, undoubtedly by Luke, a box of Cheerios was spilled across the linoleum, the broom and dust pan were lying on the floor beside a broken glass and Katie looked like she was about to fly into a million little pieces.
“Roses?” Matt thought he detected a little hysteria in her voice, but he wasn’t sure. “After a day like this you brought me roses?! Can’t you see how busy I am and that I’m exhausted?”
“Yes, roses for you. Simply because I love you.” He tried to drop a kiss on her cheek but she pulled away.
“Don’t even try sweet talking me. I’m not up to dealing with you, too. I still have to clean up this mess, supper to finish, dishes to do and kids to put to bed. The roses are beautiful, but I’m almost too tired to enjoy them.”
He wrapped an arm around her and propelled her toward the dining room where she had a vase or two stashed. “I’ll take care of the mess, you take care of those.” He was very careful to keep his hand on her shoulder and not goose her as he usually did. When Katie turned around and looked at him strangely he just waved her on, chuckling to himself. “How can women misunderstand so many things?” he wondered.
“Ok. What are you up to?” Katie demanded later that night as she nursed Becky one last time before putting her to bed.
“Do I have to be up to anything?”
“Of course you do.” She slanted her husband a look. “Roses do not a tiger make.”
Matt laughed. “So I’ve heard. Guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t after a tiger.”
“So, if you weren’t after a tiger, what’re the roses for?”
“To say ‘I love you’ and that I appreciate all you do around here. I know it’s not easy.”
Katie’s eyes opened wide. “You gave me roses for the first time in three years, just to tell me you love me? For no other reason? Not even in the hope of having a tiger in bed?” Her disbelief evident.
“That’s right. You’re exhausted and you needed a pick-me-up.” Matt was enjoying himself, but he could clearly see how run-down she was.
Katie shook her head. “Matt, you’re incredible.” She reached down and smoothed Becky’s fuzzy hair as she fought the tears that threatened to overflow. “You are the most unselfish and thoughtful man I know. I’m sorry I’ve been so tired and cranky.”
Matt went over and crouched in front of Katie. “Honey, it’s ok that you’re tired. I just wanted you to know that I love you. That was all. I wasn’t trying to bargain for loving; you need rest more right now.” He reached out and took the baby from her. “I’ll get her settled, you go on to bed.”
“Thank you.” Katie cupped Matt’s face in her hands and kissed him. “Any other man would expect a tiger when he brought home roses, but you brought home roses and are making sure I get some extra sleep. You have no idea how much this means to me. You are the most wonderful man in the world.”
Katie started for the hallway, but stopped. “Roses make for loving feelings and sweet sleep, and sleep a tiger doth make.”
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