This was destined to be another low-key holiday, similar to most any other day in my household. At least for the past few years, since we’ve left elementary school behind, Valentine’s Day is just another day.
No more school parties overrun with cupcakes, candy, hand-decorated shoe boxes, and valentine cards. I miss watching boys painstakingly choose and address cards to each classmate, using an official homeroom roster as guide.
I even miss the inevitable sugar rush that followed school dismissal, along with excitement shared over the loot received.
Thus far our family has been a “girlfriend-free” zone. We’ve stood fifteen years without any relationship drama—I’m betting this is the last Valentine’s Day I can claim such a distinction.
With a freshman and an eighth grader, it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” they begin the pursuit of romantic relationships. I haven’t discouraged them, instead encouraging them to wait as long as possible.
Once you dip your toes in the water, there’s no going back. The absence of girls hanging around has just given me a longer run as my sons’ favorite female.
I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact special days such as today are difficult. Guessing they always will be.
I dread this holiday more than most. I would much rather avoid it all together.
Opposed to love and relationships? Nope. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When you’ve had a great love and lost it, whether to death or divorce or some other sort of separation, these days are tough. To armchair therapists, sitting on the sidelines with no personal experience of a love lost, who say time heals, I emphatically call “hogwash.”
Healing occurs, but it leaves behind a scar.
It’s a constant reminder of what you had.
Add in non-stop Valentine’s ads for jewelry, candy, flowers, alongside seemingly-perfect couples and you can see where I’m coming from.
Last Friday, I drove to Denison, Texas, to watch my freshman’s basketball game. He has my promise I will never miss being courtside nor in the stands when he is playing.
So far I’ve kept my end of the bargain; I plan on continuing throughout his high school career. The extended drive time gives me ample opportunity to think. And listen to music non-stop.
That can be a problem whenever you’re missing a special someone, the person who used to do all the driving. And made all big family decisions seem like child’s play.
All that, coupled with the approaching holiday, got me feeling pretty low.
I won’t lie, tears flow most of the way home.
The younger son comforts me the best he can. We make it home safely, even with the crying, nose blowing, and snorting.
Anticipating a delivery of a much-needed laptop briefcase that day, I walk around to our front door from the garage.
In the fuzzy glow of the street light, I can see my package, but also glimpse something else.
The distinct outline of flowers.
A beautiful nosegay of roses and gerbera daisies waits, along with a note and envelope.
I can hardly believe my eyes.
A closer inspection under indoor lighting gives me pause—there’s no name.
The sweet note explains this is a Valentine’s Day random act of kindness; I am the first person who came to this person’s mind. Their words touch me deeply. A spa pedicure certificate is also attached.
On a day when I feel alone and somewhat unlovable, I get an unexpected gift—from a person I can’t even properly thank due to their anonymity.
They may never know how their gesture threw a life preserver to me in the midst of a sea of Valentine sensory overload.
If you’re responsible for my surprise, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You have singlehandedly restored my faith in the intrinsic kindness of people.
My wish is for everyone—single, unattached, or otherwise—to experience the same. I will most definitely be paying it forward.
Happy Valentine’s Day.