As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.
As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.
As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways. As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones. Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day. Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries. It’s the little things ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice. And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.
In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.
You see I learned it from her: My mother was a strong woman and my role model – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats. She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board. She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her! Not much ever did!
Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo
Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired, take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to. I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy. I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.
Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort. The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables. The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it. That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.
I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.
God, I miss her.
So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:
- I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
- I wish you dreams in technicolor,
- I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
- Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.