How I loved Valentines Day. Always symbolized by my Mom as meatloaf, the moldable meat. On this day it was a heart. Mom had scalloped potatoes and wiggly jello as a side. But I amped it up with Bunny Milk as the house beverage, and pink mashed potatoes as I grew into being the mother, finishing with strawberry shortcake, just like she did.
There was nothing I loved as much as being a mother and a wife. And Valentines seemed to bring it all together. Tucking notes into pockets, candies under pillows. Little drawings in lunch boxes. Love notes. Of course, candy necklaces and lipstick on their plates. Candles!!! Linens on the table, music on the hi-fi, and dressed up for the occasion. And what would Valentines be without their dad grinching about commercialism, but dutifully producing that Hallmark moment, and a rose representing each child. And then… The dancing.
These days the time between one Valentine’s Day and another go by in a blur, always startling me, like being awakened from a nap. But there are other memories that extend the premise of a day to show love.
Waking up from surgery and seeing my children, now all grown, around me, touching my forehead, holding my hands, telling me jokes that hurt when I I laughed. Half asleep, hearing them whisper, sometimes hearing them start to cry. And then giggling as another family story came to mind. Our ability to laugh was the balm that healed everything. It is our love story.
From feeding them to them feeding me, as my mind and body was too crushed to even think. Bedtime lullabies became karaoke sessions on some TV game. Long trips to Grayling, as visits to Granma and Gumpsy, and an even longer trip moving back, no longer married. Future trips that took me completely away from their lives. And God’s grace that found a way to bring me back to them.
Valentine’s will always be in my heart. It may not be February 14th when it happens, but I know when it is here. Friends – fremily – who mow the lawn, carry the trash out and bring the mail in. Sort out my meds, chauffeur me to appointments, battle the crowds of Meijers and Sam’s. A card or letter in the mail. A poem.
And tonight, a knock on the door, and in my dear friend’s hands… A meatloaf dinner!!
Find a Valentine moment whenever you can. Cherish that love of surprises, or a setting you’ve been gifted with. Create moments for those you love to tuck in your memory. May I suggest moldable meatloaf?
Love and blessings to you all,