As Valentine’s Day approaches, this old woman’s fancy is lightly turning to thoughts of love. To me, a life must have love to be healthy and hardy. Without love, I think our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being suffers. Our spirits become pale, weak, puny little things that fail to thrive. With love, our lives are robust, multi-faceted, and always growing.
This will be the sixtieth Heart Day I have spent on the planet. They haven’t all been happy. I haven’t always had a special valentine of my own. I haven’t experienced any of those “rom com” Valentine’s Days filled with flowers, surprises, and perfect proposals.
Over all, though, I’ve been pretty lucky in the love department.
To begin with, I have God. As St. John says, “God IS love.” How can any Valentine’s Day exist… or any day at all exist, that doesn’t include a celebration of the abundant love of my Lord? I am wondrously and robustly blessed. My life can be nothing less than a love letter from and to God.
I have always had the most supportive and loving family and friends. They’ve always laughed with me, held me up when I’ve been drowning in sorrow, made me feel special, and pointed me true north when my internal compass wobbled in wild wonkiness. Even in times when I was without a romantic relationship and felt desperately unloved and unwanted, I have always been loved and wanted. I was just too much of a goose to realize it. Max and I have been binge watching Downton Abbey again recently. In one episode, the cook, Mrs. Patmore sends an anonymous Valentine’s Day card to her assistant, Daisy. Mrs. Patmore is sure that one of the footmen is going to send a card to the other kitchen maid and she wants Daisy to have something to open as well. After much ado, Mrs. Patmore finally confesses to Daisy that she sent the valentine and apologizes for instigating an unintended drama. Daisy thanks Mrs. Patmore, responding that she might not have a young man, but she has a friend and “that is something.” It certainly is, Daisy. In fact, it is a great deal more than “something.”
Actually, Valentine’s Day has not been a very big deal in my holiday hierarchy. I send cards, but that’s about it. Even when I was in romantic relationships, my beaux have always approached the most romantic day of the year as little more than a Hallmark holiday. The first guy I dated after my divorce asked me why I didn’t get him anything for Valentine’s Day, although I had, in fact, sent a card. The irony, apparently quite lost on him, was that he had done nothing at all for me for Valentine’s Day. Another fellow, who I dated for several years, did get me a valentine gift one year. It was a rain gage. Yes, a rain gage. I think I can claim the distinction of having received the least romantic gift of all time. I know everyone has a different language of love, but I think it is safe to assume that lovers don’t speak “rain gage” anywhere.
Max and I have always acknowledged Valentine’s Day, but in a pretty low-key way. We exchange cards. I always get him the extremely sentimental gift of a renewal of his AAA club membership. I know it isn’t a rain gage, but we can’t all be crazy romantic fools. Honestly, he would be very disappointed if I did not renew his membership. His gift to me is usually rolled into whatever “big” gift has been burning a hole in his present budget. For instance, last Christmas, he got me a tanzanite ring that represented Christmas, birthday, anniversary, and Valentine’s birthday for three years.
We don’t drag out the trumpets and play a fanfare. It always feels like we “should” do something special, but we usually don’t. Neither one of us really like to go out for dinner or anywhere traditionally romantic because everything is so crowded and expensive. It is a bit galling to realize you are paying more for an experience that you could have much more pleasantly on any other day of the year just to be able to say you are doing it on Valentine’s Day. It is kind of the New Year’s Eve of love. Hardened partiers call New Year’s Eve the amateur night for drinkers. Maybe Valentine’s Day is the amateur night for people who are trying desperately to be good at being in love.
There certainly are times when I fantasize about receiving a grand romantic gesture, especially at Valentine’s Day. For the most part, though, I am happy to take my love as I find it, on any day of the year. Our Valentine’s Days are not exploding with passion like a fireworks show. I would rather know that I am loved and cherished each and every day than point to one specific moment in time when the valentine fireworks ignited. Our Valentine’s Days are sweeter and less flashy, like savoring hot chocolate.
Max and I understand each other. We nurture each other. We enjoy each other. We have a lot of the same interests and preferences. We introduce each other to different fancies that become shared eccentricities. For instance, how many 68-year-old men trail after their girlfriends visiting Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow? And delight in it?
We may not always admire the other person’s less-than-pleasant personality quirks, but we admire the totality of the other person. The quirks are just part of the package. Max loves me enough to do just about anything for me, if I tell him it is important to me. He doesn’t try to convince me why it isn’t important, he just trusts that it is. In exchange, I love him enough not to play the “important” card unless it really is. I don’t ask him to do things that I know he won’t want to do unless it truly is important to me.
Yes, I am well-loved. And, because I am, my life is heathy and heart-y!
Do you have a special valentine wish you would like to send? Please feel free to reach out to your loved one with a heart-y message by leaving a comment. If you would like to email me, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a love-ly day!