It is Valentine’s Day today. My boys each received a giant Hershey bar with a big red bow this morning. I was surprised they didn’t have chocolate for breakfast like on Easter morning. They could have, but they didn’t ask or just go for it sorta on the sly.
Instead of wearing red (I’m just not feeling bold like that) I chose my purple t-shirt with the hot pink sea turtles and the words “Aulani • Hawai’i.” We loved there. He and I. Our family of four cocooned together surrounded by Hawaiian island paradise. That was six months ago, at the beginning of August 2012, just three weeks before he died.
This morning my youngest son and I stood outdoors in quickly falling snow with Blue dog too. What began as micro flakes quickly changed to ginormous ones and was really coming down. This unexpected snowfall made me smile, as did the talking and laughing between us while while waiting for the bus. Sweet fifth grade boy has twenty eight valentines with nerd candy attached in his backpack, ready to give to his classmates at the party this afternoon. I’m preparing for a sugar buzz attack this evening, followed by a crash. He held his backpack over his head and asked me to go inside and get the umbrella to block the falling snow. I didn’t budge. Instead my hair turned white from snow accumulation because I’d left my hat inside. Enough landed there that I did blow dry it again once inside. Crazy winter.
I have a lunch date with my oldest son at his favorite restaurant to look forward to. Half day only at his school today. Parents Day in the lower grades. We’ll enjoy our afternoon time, just us two, before his brother gets off the bus returning home. He led me in a merry game of chase when I turned to give him a Happy Valentine’s Day hug before school. What a scene we made. Thirteen year old boy with the long legs staying just ahead, ten year old keeping pace beside me and Blue dog racing, not sure of the objective but not wanting to miss the merry go round of fun. I’ll get that hug. Later. The day is young. Good thing is, he “eluded me” by brushing his teeth before school at my reminder.
I’ll probably make a chocolate cake in my grandmother’s heart shaped cake pans. They are mine now, but they were hers first. If not today, sometime this weekend.
The dog is walked. The boys are at school. The house is quiet. The coffee is brewed. I started to reach for my blue “Oasis” mug. The one I glazed with the soothing colors of the Caribbean in early July while my children worked on 4-H projects alongside. Then I considered the earth tone mug in the unusual shape that I brought home from a summer art fair in 2011. That was longer ago than it sounds, considering all that has happened since. Instead, I chose the bright red heart mug today, on the day it is made for, Valentine’s Day. I bought two of these red heart mugs long ago, as Valentine’s Day gifts for my husband and I. Way back, before the children were born. I still have both of the mugs. Stupid earthly stuff. It stays behind with memories attached, both the good and the bad ones. So much to wade through.
Earlier this week on Monday, February 10, I wrote in an email to a girlfriend:
“Valentine’s Day won’t be as hard for me as our wedding anniversary on May 31. I always have considered Valentine’s Day “a Hallmark holiday” and still say showing your love isn’t about over the top extravagance on one *stupid* day you feel forced to make a gesture, but about the whole year of big, and mostly little things, that you do for one another. My 2¢. I’ll make sure to toast the day with chocolate and will spend it with my children, my two bestest Valentine’s, this year and every one. Hold each other close. Say, “Good morning, I love you” as the day begins and, “Good night, I love you” as the day ends. We got it right for the last month of our marriage, when all pride was finally shoved aside and we loved with our walls down. Beautifully. Fleetingly. It was good and all God. I told my oldest son yet again, on the drive to school today, “There were many miracles along the way, but the biggest one was the way God moved a stubborn man and a stubborn woman at the end of July.” It was all Him.”
I’m thankful for, and humbled by, the ocean of love and prayer that continues to surround my family of three people, one wild dog, and a cranky cat.
Now I’m on today. Valentine’s Day. All day. I’m finishing my last cup of coffee, a special blend sent across the ocean from Hawaii and looking forward to my lunch date. Later, I anticipate laughing later while watching Blue dog play outside on the long leash as I shovel snow, and then being tucked into home with my family tonight, with cake to follow soon. Lots of good stuff right there, in these quiet moments that no longer pass me by.
Aloha means, “hello,” “goodbye,” “I love you.” Feels right. Yes. That. Aloha. My subconscious knew, as I chose my souvenir t-shirt from our Hawaiian vacation to wear today, along with my sparkly heart love multicolor Venetian glass necklace, a gift from two GFF BFF friends, also from August 2012.
Happy Valentine’s Day, from me to you.
P.S. See?! I am trying. Getting there. Day by day. Grief is not for wimps…and this rambling post probably doesn’t make a lick o’sense. Oh well. I wrote it anyway. So there. Take that, Valentine’s Day! *sigh*
Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
February 14, 2014