did YOU get a flower from Amy F?

If you received a flower in your email this week, from a mysterious admirer named “Amy F,” you’re welcome. And I apologize.

I signed on to a website called Mamasource this week, a sort of ivillage-by-zip-code that connects moms within their communities. It was suggested to me as an effective marketing tool for Mother Load, so I checked it out.

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEND A FLOWER TO SOME OF YOUR MOTHER FRIENDS INVITING THEM TO JOIN?” it exhorted, in a totally cheerful and lame font.

“Noooo,” I said, and clicked on what seemed like the opt-out version.

Ninety seconds later, as my computer whirred, I realized I had instead opted IN, and frantically hit “stop” and “refresh” while mamasource sent an email to every single person in my email inbox: our contractor from when we renovated our kitchen three years ago, a babysitter I had to fire last week, work associates of my husband’s I have never really met… you name it.

Well, maybe I stopped it in time, I thought. Chloe O’Brian usually pulls that off on 24, and sadly, I have the same hairdo as she does here, so why shouldn’t I be able to stop an impending computer disaster as well?

But yesterday morning at dropoff, I started getting weird looks. Sidelong glances. Finally, one of my son’s classmates’ mothers, who I emailed at some point about a playdate or something, apparently, approached me. “Um. Did you send me… a flower?” she said, hesitantly.

I heard this about eight more times before I left the school. I was mortified. Then I got home, and my email inbox was topped with the same question, from someone who is basically a complete stranger. “Dear Amy F,” she wrote. “I received your flower. Thank you! Can you please tell me more about Mamasource?”

Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I would never call myself “Amy F.” The “F” is my husband’s name, which I take in certain situations, but I would call myself “Amy” or “Amy W” or “Amy W F,” even, before I would call myself “Amy F.” The problem is in the people who don’t really know me.

But that’s the interesting part. I’m starting to get emails from women I don’t know that well, or haven’t seen in a long time, or wished I knew better. “Thanks for the flower!” one wrote. “You made my day!” And so this flower business now seems like an opportunity, to respond to these fellow mothers, and get back in touch, which is undoubtedly a good thing, and the stated purpose of mamasource.com in the first place. So, see, they’re evil geniuses.

If you received a flower from me, and you liked it, you’re welcome. If you were annoyed by the spam, me too, and I offer my sincerest apology.

Next time I email everyone in my inbox at once, I’m going to do what this lady did, while sleepwalking, and email out some REALLY random stuff. “Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out,” she wrote a bunch of people. “Dinner and drinks, 4.pm. Bring wine and caviar only.” THAT’S a surefire way to hear from some long-lost folks.