My favorite holiday... Valentine's Day.
When I was a little girl, I used to love decorating my Valentine's Day box for school. Carefully cutting out the hole in the top where mean boys and nice boys alike would jam their cards into my perfectly decorated box. (get your MIND out of the gutter... this is a family story) I used to have so much fun writing out my valentines for my friends at school putting extra candy into my crush's envelope, of course. I even put aside my grudges on this day and gave the mean girls their undeserved candy hearts. Somehow I knew very young that love was a powerful thing.
As I grew up, my love for this day continued celebrating Valentine's Day with this boyfriend and that one too. Receiving flowers and chocolate, jewelry and other gifts. But it was never about that. I just loved the world on this day. People seemed more cheerful. Men marched out of card shops SO proud of themselves for choosing the perfect card for their loves and because I am hopelessly romantic from a young age, this made me swoon. I knew someday I would have someone that would be excited to run home to me with that perfect card and the ambition to make sure I had a perfect day. Even as a single woman, I love this day. It's romantic and happy and there's kind of a LOT of pink!
I'm not blind to the fact that I could tell people I love any other day why I love them so much but I like having a day completely dedicated to it. It's just FUN! Some people call it a Hallmark holiday but I'm pretty sure Hallmark wasn't around in the 1400s which is supposedly when the first valentines were sent. Some people think it's cool to hate Valentine's Day because they're single and they feel it's a great day to let the world know how much they hate this one day where love abounds... and then wonder why they're single. If you can't love, well, love, then how will you ever be able to fall into it?
So, today, on my favorite day... I share a piece of my heart with you in hopes that your view of the day of love will change.
When Fred died, a piece of my heart went with him but I still have the most precious gift... my memories. Here is one of my favorites...
When Fred moved to Las Vegas to pursue his career in the FBI he started a new tradition. Every Christmas I would receive a silver box with real silver and turquoise jewelry. He'll never know how much it meant to me, but every Christmas I would look for that box because I knew it would be there. It was like he was there, for that moment, and it was everything to me. So when he died that December I knew my silver box would not be under the tree. When my family went to Vegas a few days later for his funeral I was given what was to be my last silver box. To this day it is my most treasured possession, among all of his t-shirts and things that I have... this is what I would miss the most if it were lost. It's a silent reminder that he thought of me as much as I thought of him. He was my daddy for all intents and purposes and it's like having a piece of him with me always. I have never worn the jewelry in the box in the 12 years since he's been gone. I just can't bring myself to do it. But it's there and it's a gift I can reopen over and over again.
Little did I know, someone would restart the tradition a few years later. My high school sweetheart and first husband started giving me a silver box every Christmas. They were all special and so meaningful because in those boxes, Fred was able to live on in my memories. Now, so many years later, we are divorced and I have not received a silver box. Until this year....
I've shared this story with very few people. Only people who would "get it". When my roommate, who is also my best friend and as we've recently decided long lost sister, heard this story around Christmas time she began her search. She was bound and determined to find the perfect box. Of course, I had no idea. So as I'm lying here nauseous yesterday, feeling miserable from being sick, she calls. "You are going to LOVE your gift." In my head I was trying to figure out what kind of pink token she found because I L-O-V-E anything pink... So I started guessing all kinds of random things that could be found at Hallmark (which was my only clue). Then she pops out with "It's tiny." So I knew it wasn't a boy. I gave up guessing and went back to my tear-jerker Oprah episode and in she walks. "Okay. Are you ready?" I was, so I asked.. "What do you want me to do? Close my eyes?" She said "Hold out your hands and close your eyes." I did. And in plopped what felt like a price tag and a teeny little token. I was so confused. And then I opened my eyes...
And then I couldn't see because my eyes were flooding. It was the smallest most adorable little silver heart shaped box. The price tag was in fact NOT a price tag, but a card with an inscription that reads...
"May you find a love that's
affectionate and true
by someone special
who understands you.
With passion and joy
to fill your days
and a companion who
compliments all your ways."
I'm unsure whether or not she will ever know what this means to me. But this Valentine's Day, even though I am single, I am NOT alone. Because he is with me. After recently coming to grips with this whole being single thing, I am now more determined than ever to never give my heart away again. It is not a possession to be bought or a thieve's gold to be stolen... it's an award to be earned by the one who works the hardest, who "compliments all my ways", who loves me and not some girl he wants me to be. It's the lesson every great father wants their daughter to learn, it's what Fred would have wanted me to learn. So this Valentine's Day, I spent in memory of him with my favorite man... my dog. :)
Love isn't always about romantic grand gestures and a vase of flowers as they would have you believe... sometimes it's about the simple things. A small silver box that holds more memories and more emotion than it could ever hold if written. An inscription to finalize a decision of persistence. A friend who cared enough to make this day so filled with love for her friend who loves the day of love. But simple is sometimes also grand and today was grand.
Thank you Teresa for making this day one of love and happiness beyond measure. I couldn't have asked for a more meaningful gift. My Valentine's Day has been exactly what it should have been because you kinda sorta rock at being my friend.
to be continued....