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Feb 14, 2021
This is the outside or front of the last Valentine's Day card my dad made for me--almost 20 years ago, featuring frogs--my favorite creatures!This is the inside of his card. He knew I loved adventure stories and poetry and flowers. Truthfully, Valentine’s Day has never been a favorite holiday of mine. Maybe it started back in high school when I learned about the Roman festival of Lupercalia in Latin class. Thought to be the ancient inspiration for this celebration, Lupercalia involved slapping young women with the bloody skin of a freshly sacrificed animal to ‘bestow fertility’. Not my idea of a good time in any season or century.
Flowers are nice. Candies are better. Cards are always appreciated. But my husband and I have never made a big deal of the occasion.
This year however, two things made me alter my thoughts. One was the rediscovery of my Dad’s last Valentine to me, which he made, with the help of a friend, a few months before he died. And the other was this darn pandemic which shows no immediate end in sight. Since I don’t get to say “I love you” to my kids and grandkids in person, I decided to make them Valentines like my dad made for me.
My father's Valentine was made from construction paper and magazine pictures and I can tell that he carefully chose each picture to say, “I see you and I love you.” When I look now at his shaky signature, the little touches of glitter here and there, and the gold cupid stickers my heart fills with love. We had a complex relationship that didn’t always go well, but his Valentine is a tangible reminder that in the end—our love for each other is the only thing that mattered. And I can hold that precious gift in my hand when I touch his Valentine, long after he is gone.
With six grandkids, I had to go into high production and spent most of this past week at night, going through my husband’s 3D animation magazines to find appropriate pictures for each child. Then I wrote out little notes about their attributes, including a few aspirational messages designed to encourage better behavior in some specific areas. (Hey, I’m a grandma, I can’t help myself!)
My son was able to collect the Valentines I made for his family, along with some frosted cupcakes before the snowstorm hit. Unfortunately, because of the 10 plus inches of snow since then, I won’t be able to get the ones for my daughter’s family to them, today.
So, I took pictures and texted them, instead. Unfortunately, food transporters don’t yet exist, so their cupcakes are going in the freezer.
I hope if you are feeling lonely or blue today, that you grab some scraps of paper, glitter, and glue, and make some Valentines for those you love, including yourself. I'm adding the Valentines I did for my two granddaughters ages 4 and 14, and two of my grandsons, ages 4 and 16.
Have a peaceful, loving day.
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