Valentine’s day is a good opportunity for us to take a look at love and appreciate those we love now and those we have loved who we miss.
Today, a Monday, I went to the mall around two o’clock to return something to Macy’s. It was painless. I do not like shopping and since I purchased this item back in November, and had no receipt, I was pretty impressed that they took it back – well actually exchanged it. I found one in a different size.
As I was leaving the quiet store, I held the door open for a mom with a preschooler and a baby in the stroller. How sweet. I reminisced how I never had the chance to randomly walk into a mall on a Monday with my little kids, because I was always so busy working.
And then I spent the next bunch of years of their lives and mine working.
And now I am retired.
I finally have the time to take the kids to the mall in the middle of the day. I finally have the time to stop and smell the roses. I finally have the time to think about what is important in life.
Is Valentine’s day an important holiday? I don’t know.
When I was a Kindergarten teacher it was HUGE!
Directions were sent out a week in advance at least. Here are ALL the names in our class and the other teachers and helpers. Please make a card for EVERYONE!
The mostly store bought cards, some with candy attached, would arrive in delivery bags and be distributed at the right time.
Oh the joy of giving was evident in the genuine faces, as well as the joy of receiving. I even got a few cards and candy items on my desk!
When my kids went away to college, I did try to send them care packages with candy and a card. You are loved is the message and we can never stop giving that message.
After Mike died, I recall being upset about a lot of things. But one of the sillier things was the lingerie drawer that I never used! The assortment of silky and lacy items had had a one time showing and seemed to be dismissed after that.
After 26 years of marriage, we were happy and had our bedtime routines sorted out. I liked soft cotton shirts with sleeve. Menopause had brought on night sweats so the fan blew all night. Our drafty bedroom made keeping the shoulders covered necessary especially during those cold winter nights.
One year when we were living with my parents, a funny thing happened. On Valentine’s day both men brought home their wives pretty bouquets of flowers. We oohed and aahed over flowers, ate a candy or two and opened our cards. Would you believe that both my dad and my husband Mike picked out the same card for their wives! Even they felt weird about that one.
I am in my lovely new office in my Florida home today looking at a photo of my son’s graduation from college, 12 years ago! How is that possible? But what stands out to me is my petite mother-in-law. I will have to write a tribute to her one day. She was an amazing woman in so many ways and I miss her laugh and just being around her.
Mike’s death was so devastating to her. He was her baby. Her youngest son and she loved him so much. When I started writing this blog, I would write random stories that hit me. It was therapeutic and I needed a lot of therapy and love and healing efforts to get to where I am now.
I dug up some old photos one day and wrote a blog about before Mike and I got married and were driving across the USA in my 1985 red Ford Mustang with the U-Haul carrier on the roof. We had stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and he bought me a silver heart necklace for my birthday. It was so pretty and we eventually moved to San Diego, married and lived happily ever after until death did one of us part.
She loved that story and I am glad that I wrote that blog post so she knew how much I loved her son.
So, today was just another day to notice that time has changed. I cannot go back to when my kids were toddlers and relive that. I did the best I could at the time and I still have the memories (and photos) of their cuteness and our love as a family.
The first couple of years as a widow were a bit painful. I did not like to see other women in love. It didn’t matter if they were my age, younger or even older. I worried that no one would ever love me again. I felt jipped that I didn’t get the story I had planned.
But you have to move forward. My dad always told me “don’t cry over spilt milk”. If it already happened, and you can not change it, you can’t waste time thinking about it.
That woman walking into Macy’s today is lucky. She may not know it, but I felt happy for her as I held the door for her and those cute children. I hope she is having a great night with them prepping cards for the preschooler. He will be so excited to hand out his cards.
After I returned the shorts to Macy’s today I asked the saleswoman, “where is the lingerie department?”
It is Valentine’s day after all and it is a great time to pull out all the stops. And if it is difficult to find the stops, then maybe it is time to make one. STOP. What can you do today to tell those you love how much they mean to you? Send that text – make that call – pull out that fancy outfit – make those reservations – paint those nails red!
I’d love to hear your ideas. Happy Valentines Day!