*Please note…this is not the “traditional” TD. Normally the TD is filled with love letters to my precious V. The TD has gotten SO much harder to write as I sit next to him everyday and am able to whisper in his ear those things that I could only write before…so on that note….my precious V, I love you more than my own life. You mean the world to me. You are everything I have ever hoped for, ever dreamed of, and/or ever wanted. I am looking forward to MANY more wonderful Valentine’s days with you, my prince!
But this “TD” I will have to dedicate to all the mothers out there…those with small children that run them ragged and those with grown children that long for that time once again…to ALL the mother’s….HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!
It had started off as an early day for her. She had gotten far too used to sleeping later than she should anyway. At least that is what she had told herself. It had been hard to sleep the night before. She had found that as of late, sleep eluded her the night before a big event. “Big event” in her new world usually meant going to the doctor or the dentist the next day. Sometimes it would include a “special day” like the birthday of one she loved or thoughts of her upcoming trip back “home”. Last night her special event had been the knowledge that tomorrow was her favorite day of the year…Valentine’s Day.
She had hurriedly tried to piece together some things that she had wanted to make for her love…things that were in her heart and mind but had never made it to fruition. She loved Valentine’s Day even more than her birthday….even more than Christmas. It was by far her FAVORITE day of the whole year…and she could not even tell you why. Perhaps it was all the pink and red and white everywhere…a nice change from all the dreary colors of winter. Maybe it was the fact that the day was associated with chocolates and flowers…two of her favorite things. Maybe more than anything else was the fact that it centered around love…and not just any kind of love…but especially the love that one person has for that special someone in their life. She was not really sure just WHY it thrilled her so, but it did. And tomorrow was the “big day”.
She had tried not to get her hopes up too high. She knew that this day would be different from most that she had experienced in the past. Things in her knew home were not as commercialized as they had been where she came from and she really did not know quite what to expect, but she knew it would be different.
The first thing she had done was to get up and check her phone messages. She was not sure just what she thought she would find there. She DID live a LIFETIME away from her kids, after all. They were far from “kids” anymore. But they would always be her babies. Of course, there were no phone messages from them. It was not even morning there yet….perhaps later? “And besides” she told herself “they would and SHOULD be greeting their spouses with whispers of love and commitment…NOT their Mother!” She had seen pictures of the presents some of her children had bought for their loved ones online…and she felt secure that they were at a “good place” with their loved ones. But still…they had usually bought her flowers in the past. And she had to admit…she had gotten used to it. She had hoped at the very least that they would think to send her a text message. “Maybe later….yes, that is it….later”
She got up from the bed and tried to fight back the feelings of disappointment. She had KNOWN they would come…and yet all the knowing in the world could not stop them or make them hurt any less. Breakfast was hurried, as she had expected it to be. Mondays were always that way…and she dreaded each one, knowing that she would be separated from her love as he went on his way to work. It was not like he was gone long…and it was not as though he was gone EVERYDAY, but nonetheless…each moment away from him seemed like an eternity.
Her new life with him included time with his children. They were MUCH younger than hers…and time with them usually meant trying to remember mothering skills that had long since been packed away. She had managed to bluff her way through most things…and had gotten along fairly well with all of them, with the exception of the oldest.
The oldest was a beautiful, tall, willowy 6 year old, with the stubbornness and intelligence of her father, two things that she LOVED about her partner, but found formidable in a 6 year old. Today she would have to walk to the bus stop and pick her up from school. It was not a far walk at all, but the weather was slightly windy and the chill of winter was still in the air, making it a “brisk” walk to say the least.
She took off to the bus stop and tried to think of other things than what day it was…and how different her life was now. Some of it was different just in the fact that all her children were grown and had “flown the coop” leaving her with a tad bit of “empty nest syndrome”. The rest was different in that she had started a new life…a new love…halfway across the world. Sometimes the two COULD combine to make for some difficult times, such was today. “La la la la…think of ANYTHING El….think of happy thoughts…think of the recent hurricanes in Australia…think of the hardships in Haiti…think of new and FUN things to create…think of ANYTHING but the fact that it is Valentine’s Day in a new world……ANYTHING!
The wind hit her face like a knife as she rounded the corner and started down the hill. She tried to concentrate on how that felt…on how cold it was…on the mist in the hills…..anything. She had arrived a tad bit too early and had to wait a while for the bus, making it all the harder to think of other things. She looked around and noticed the shapes of trees and bushes that she had never seen in her native home. She reached out and touched them, noticing the buds that were trying to form and she hoped that they would not die an early death with a late freeze.
Across from her she noticed one of the neighbors that had 2 small children. She had come to pick her oldest up from the bus stop and had the little one bundled up in 10 inches of swaddling, much needed to be outside. She watched from a distance as the mother played with the infant…and remembered….trying not to think of the phone with no messages that sat idle in her pocket. She wondered if someday that mother would also feel the sting of knowing that her children had outgrown her, the stinging of the wind against her face almost a physical representation of her pain. She thought about going over to sit with the young mother, maybe strike up some friendly conversation….and then she remembered…the mother spoke something that she had not yet learned to speak. So she just looked away, turning her gaze to the beautiful green hillside, mist floating gingerly on top of it.
It was so quiet there that she could hear the bus coming for quite some distance. She watched as it pulled up across the street from where she was at. She was on the wrong side of the street…of course. She waited a moment to see if the tall, willowy figure of a young girl would make its way around the bus towards her, but none came. She started across the street and noticed the young girl looking around and talking to the young mother, as she realized that her charge had felt “abandoned” by her absence. She hurriedly made her way to her, smiling at the young mother…as if to say “Don’t worry…I have done this before…I am not TOTALLY inept”. And the young mom smiled back and walked away with her own bundles of love.
She looked down at the 6 year old entrusted to her care and took off up the hill. “BYE!” the 56year old merrily called out to her playmate as we began the trek back home. “Oh…..El”….she said as she stopped and fumbled around in her large bag, pulling out something red and rolled up like a scroll. “Happy Valentine’s Day” she said in a language that El had not yet learned, but knew enough to know what that meant. “For me?????” El asked, incredulously. “Yes!”….the 6 year old nodded. El unwrapped the red “scroll” and recognized the familiar shape of a heart. Inside the heart was the name of the 6 year old, written in some of the best 6 year old scrawl she had seen in a long time….along with a hand drawn vase with flowers…and a couple of white feathers pasted on, for good measure.
She could not help but feel her hands tremble a bit as she lovingly rolled it back up and placed it in her pocket for safe keeping, trying to hide the tears she felt welling up in her eyes. It was going to be okay. She had gotten her flowers after all. She had received her card. She had found love on Valentine’s Day in the one place she would have never looked.
The wind still blew as they started up the hill, but El didn’t notice. Nothing had really changed…and yet everything had changed. It was magical…it was special…it was love…it was….Valentine’s Day!