People tend to have a love hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. There is no middle ground. There will be no survivors– only prisoners.
I once had a friend who wore head to toe black on Valentine’s Day. She said that she wanted to make a stand against love for those who did not have relationships. She wanted to show that for some people, Valentine’s Day was sadness and anger and pain. She got married and now wears pink on Valentine’s Day with fiesty red lipstick. Perspectives, I suppose.
I once had an extremely awkward Valentine’s Day date on which the first time I met this person (and the last time too, I might add) we went for a walk in the park. It would have been romantic except that he kept stepping on duck poop on purpose, as if it were a game. Perspectives, I suppose.
I had another awkward date at one point (not on Valentine’s day, as it happens, but close enough) where the man asked me if I wanted to go register to vote. Um . . . ok. I was already registered but accompanied him. He asked me my political party and said he was going to change his to mine. Romantic, isn’t it. Perspectives, I suppose. I never saw him again. One of these days he will probably win a seat in Congress. He’s crazy enough.
I also remember sitting on the floor of my college dorm room, cutting out intricate paper hearts with my roommates and making homemade valentines for our favorite teachers and friends, because we had no money to buy them. I think one valentine took me an hour. But it was truly a labor of love, and even if it didn’t cost much in money, in was rich in love. Perspectives again, I suppose.
Like most people I have had those I loved pass away or move away. Some loves left and still hurt, if I let them. Or I can squeeze that hurt– surround it with positive memories and turn it into a pearl, like an oyster does. Did you know that if you cut down the center of the pearl, you will find the little grain of irritant inside that started the pearl, in the first place? Was it a problem, or was it something beautiful? Perhaps it’s all in what you make it. Perspectives, I suppose.
My mom usually made lasagna and Strawberry Shortcake on Valentine’s Day. She set the table with a pink tablecloth and used her good dishes. She put a red wrapped Hershey kiss at each of our plates. We drank cherry kool aid with ginger ale mixed into it in stemmed glasses and felt so grown up. To this day, I still make that same menu for my family to enjoy on Valentine’s day. The strawberry shortcake with its sublime, buttery richness and crunchy, glittery sugar top smothered in ruby red berries? Why, it doesn’t get much more perfect than that, no matter what your perspective is.
Life happens quickly. Before you know it your kids are growing up before your eyes. You look into the mirror and think “Hey– how did that old lady get in there?” You’re still young inside. You still remember those loves you lost . . . the new loves you gained. You think about how far you’ve come– how you persevered and conquered things that you never would have believed you could do. You pour yourself a cup of tea and toast yourself, quietly. You don’t need anyone else. Your opinion is the one that matters. Make yourself proud.
Love has many faces. Sometimes it’s romantic and ooshy gooshy and pink hearts and candy. Other times it’s the single mom who is exhausted and hungry but goes to her child’s soccer game after work before she eats, because of love. Sometimes it’s the spouse who says “You rest. I’ll do the dishes tonight,” even though they are both tired. Sometimes it’s the little old lady and little old man who hobble through the mall, hand in knobbly hand, as they have done for the past 50 years. Sometimes it’s the child saving the meat from his hamburger to share with his puppy.
All because of love.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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