Valentines Day was great when I was a kid.
It was a happy fun day to hurry through Math and wait for the parties to start. Our mothers would come to school and cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love through our classrooms.
We’d decorate shoe boxes in hopes of a Valentine overload… and sometimes those wishes came true.
You see I’d grown up loved.
I had siblings and cousins, Grandparents and Aunties, Uncles and friends and kitties and ponies, dogs and more. I don’t remember anyone saying “I love you” as much as just knowing … that they did.
Later on, I had my share of boyfriends, some more serious than others, and yes I even grew up and got married – but to the wrong guy. ( I did meet the right one later on — otherwise known as “Hubbs.”)
But it wasn’t until I became a Mom that I really understood what love – true love – was all about.
Real love. Deep love. The kind of love that makes your heart-hurt-sometimes love.
It was a little green-eyed curly-haired moppet who claimed me. Once I loved him, I didn’t know how my heart could hold any more.
When I realized, pretty early on, that the “shine was off the penny” (the marriage was a mistake), I knew there was no way I was going anywhere without my boy.
In the thick of the divorce, I remember my mother-in-law calling Mom to try and talk me into staying. Mom’s response? “My daughter would rather live in a tent and eat dirt before she stays and you’d be wise not to get in her way.”
My Mom. All 119 lbs of her. God, I love her.
She’s the one who taught me. It was
her their example I followed.
Not always having enough, but making whatever we did … special and joyful.
And so, I remember with great joy, my little guy’s first Valentine’s party in pre-school. I got the afternoon off work, and arrived in time to cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love throughout his classroom.
She’d done it for me and it was in doing for him that I realized we’d be OK.
Why? Because when you’ve been loved … you can love.
Last night, on a spur of the moment, I met that boy for supper. Hubbs had a work engagement and youngest boy was working so it was just the four of us.
Him and I and the two little chirpy ones had a great visit, some yummy food, and moments of hilarity around the table. When my grandson corrected my granddaughter, my boy looked at me and smiled as if to say “you know what this is all about don’t you.” A single Dad with two wee ones in his care, one a “step,” although he doesn’t call him that. Others do. He just says “this is my son.”
Adult life hasn’t been easy for him and I know the walk he’s walking and the trials he faces. We do our best to help him know that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t have to always be an oncoming train.
Someday, I hope he will see that he’s been loved, and because of that, he can love, too. I hope he meets someone wonderful who will love him for him and accept them for them and who might just go out of her way to make a Tuesday night something special.
So, as Valentines Day nears, it’s not the flowers or the candy or the parties that I think of, although they’re sweet childhood memories. Who comes to mind on Valentines is my first true love.
My Boo Bear. All 6’2″ of him.
♥ ♥ ♥