Valentine’s Day Memories of Love
Ok, I’ve always been a sucker for Valentine’s Day, that quasi-made-up holiday that drives consumerism and helps greeting card companies.
When you’ve been with someone for 33 years and married for nearly 26, you know part of the deal is sharing and expressing appreciation for that love more than one day a year, but Valentine’s Day does give a foundation to help support that love.
Watching the snow fall yesterday, I was thinking of the most memorable Valentine’s Day, which was the first one we were together.
It was 1980, I was a sophomore in high school and Dale had already graduated and was working full time.
He wooed me a lot back then by surprising me with gifts and he outdid himself on Valentine’s Day by having a dozen roses sent to my high school.
Nothing earned the “best boyfriend” envy of other girls in my school more than seeing me get roses, delivered to my French class by the office secretary (who happened to be Dale’s aunt).
The second most memorable had to be the heart shaped waffle maker he bought me sometime after we married, one I still use here at Our Little House.
The next Valentine’s Day that sticks out in my mind is the one five years ago, when my mother was in the hospital.
My mother had worsened and she begged me to stay the night with her. I sat in the chair next to her bed all night, dozing off. Each time I awoke, the red and silver heart shaped balloons we sent her the day before were dancing in the low light at the end of their strings each time the heat in the room kicked on.
By that time, my mother had been in the hospital nearly a month. Balancing our work, the house and dogs with 14-hour hospital vigils were taking a toll.
After a 12-hour night shift, Dale brought me a cappuccino and a heart shaped donut at the hospital early that morning. (Mom couldn’t eat solid foods by then).
Mom loved all of the holidays and always decorated her door with décor she crafted. When we had moved her to the senior living apartment the year before, all of her holiday décor was there but for her Valentine’s decoration.
Always the firm believer in positive thinking, she had asked me earlier that month to go and get a door decoration so it would feel “festive” at her apartment when she was released from the hospital.
I was touched by Dale’s thoughtfulness, but he didn’t stay long, he needed to go home and take care of the dogs and get some sleep.
As I sat in the semi-darkened room eating my donut, watching my mother struggle to breathe, even in her sleep, I thought of her apartment door, all decorated for Valentine’s Day.
Of course, I knew she wouldn’t see it that day and for some reason, it was when it hit me that she would never see it.
Since we moved to Our Little House, I once found the box with that door decoration and I knew I wanted to keep it to always remind me of my mother’s fighting spirit and because it was one of the last things I was able to do for her.
Mysteriously, as had her other decoration when we moved her, that one disappeared, possibly re-packed by error waiting to be rediscovered in the big barn again or mistakenly given away with some of the boxes that went to charity.
I bought the door decoration pictured above the first year we moved here when I realized the one she had made for me so many years ago was broken and I couldn’t find the one I purchased for her that she never got to see.
The one I decorated her door with that last year was a simple red and pink wooden string of letters that spelled “LOVE.”
It may seem like a day full of consumerist hype, but it’s nice to have one day of the year to remind us how important love is in all of our lives.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Living Large community!
What’s your most memorable Valentine’s Day?