February is the Month of Love

I love hub pages and I love the questions and discussions that ensue. I love going through reading what everyone is saying. Some of the discussions turn a little edgy and sometimes outright mean spirited but I think, within limits, that is OK. However, I really love those thought-provoking questions. They often send my imagination into overtime or send me back remembering something or someone from the past.

Truckstop Sally asked a question, recently, that did that for me--it made me think. The question? “What is the best present you have given or received for Valentine’s Day? My answer was that I had received, from my 14-year-old son, a book about writing and a journal in which to place by thoughts and ideas.

A Valentine to Remember

My son’s dad died, when I was 28 and he was five, from a heart condition that was discovered in his early teens. Of course, this was before the technology of today so after many years of taking daily medication, going into the hospital once or twice per year, his heart just got tired and gave up. He did have many months between hospital visits that were wonderful, he lived a normal life, and we had fun.

Shortly after his death, I found that I really needed to make some extra money. He didn’t’ have life insurance--could not get any. Working a second job was not a viable option because being available for night and Saturday meetings was required by my job. Therefore, it was necessary for me to come up with an alternative plan. It had been my dream to be a writer but as I have written in other articles, my dream was “shouted” down by well meaning people who thought I needed a “real” job. “It could be an answer,” I thought, so I started submitting articles to some of the romance magazines that were popular at the time. I wrote under another name because I did not want anyone to know. They paid enough that I could work my day job, be available when needed at work, go to PTA meetings and other school functions and be with my son. When I felt we were OK financially, I stopped writing.

Years later I made an off-handed remark about writing again, my son heard me, filed it away then gave me my encouragement on the next Valentine's Day. It was better than candy, flowers, jewelry or diamonds put together. It is something I will never, ever forget.

However, as I really think and reflect I have to admit that I am not a diamonds and jewelry kind of girl. I would much rather receive something that someone put some thought into giving. Don’t get me wrong I love jewelry, in fact I will not leave the house without my earrings…I feel naked without them. I love flowers--I think they are wonderful and can bring a ray of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day. I love roses, especially yellow roses and I love lilacs and lavender I think as much for their purple color as anything else. “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” Remember that line from the movie The Color Purple?

Children and Gifts of Love

I do not know any children who do not love the color purple. And, children are the best gift givers as they put their very little hearts and souls into what they give. When they sit for hours painting, coloring, or making things out of toilet paper rolls, macaroni or whatever they can find they are so proud. When they present their little offering to you, they have the ability to fill you up with so much love it is hard to hold it all.

There is nothing wrong with the expensive elaborate gifts, if you can afford them, but the one’s I love are the simply, thought-out and very personal gifts. My view is we have turned Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day into holidays that are far too commercial and have forgotten the true meaning of each.

Mardi Gras

What is the best gift I ever gave? I am one of those people who will both think things through and get items that I know the person will both like and use, or I will get practical gifts depending on the person and their needs. That said, I think the best gift was one I gave to a bunch of people out of my own selfish need. I’d been away from my home state of Louisiana for quite a number of years and because my children were grown and living in other states, I was feeling just a little “homesick”. Something I hadn’t felt since I left home for college.

February is not only Valentines Day but Mardi Gras as well. Valentines Day is always February 14th, but Mardi Gras can fall anywhere between early February to early March. It was in February this particular year. I actually begin thinking about this toward the end of January as I begin preparation for our February staff meeting. I enlisted the help of my assistant and swore her to secrecy. Staff meetings provided opportunities to report on progress, hear updates, and receive feedback etc but gave colleagues a chance to talk and “catch up”.  We almost always had a “potluck” so that we could eat lunch together at the end of the meeting. Valentine’s Day was the theme for the February pot-luck so people were encouraged to bring their favorite Valentines Day foods. Someone always placed a list in the break-room for sign up so we would know if we would have a balanced meal or all desserts, etc. They were not expecting Mardi Gras.

My assistant, Cheryl, and I went about ordering decorations and things….beads, feathers, masks-and other Mardi Gras tinsels. toys and treats, and of course we order some Valentine Day decorations as well and extra food. We even ordered an authentic “King Cake” directly from New Orleans and timed the delivery so that it would arrive either the afternoon before or the morning of the staff meeting. We locked the doors of the conference room and Cheryl went about working her magic in making the room into a mock Mardi Gras carnival atmosphere. She wouldn’t even let me in. When the doors were finally opened everyone was blown away, including me. The room was so beautiful and I was immediately transported back to a wonderful time of family celebrations. I was reduced to tears and a gift celebration that began as a selfish gesture became something I was able to share with others in a most meaningful way. I will always remember that meeting and will be eternally grateful for what my assistant and friend, Cheryl Mesko, did to help make the day special and less lonely for me.

A Little History

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up let’s explore where the celebration came from and knowing how it started may help us understand its evolution. Well there doesn’t seem to be any information that “knows for sure” but most information do mention a Priest who lived in Rome during the third century named St. Valentine. He reportedly preformed secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers and their sweethearts because the Emperor, Claudius II, banned marriages of soldiers thinking they would not be very effective in their jobs if married. There are several more versions or ideas behind the day but I like this one. It is like most things done in secret you feel like you have an unbreakable bond with the other person. And, I would imagine the strong feelings of love and mystery that surrounded the couple. The mystery that surrounds its history may also have helped to evolved it into what we know today.

A Final Thought

Whether you enjoy flowers, candy, diamonds or anything in-between, more or less--whatever you wish for I hope you get.

I hope the giver really put some thought into what they are getting so the day becomes special and not “just another day”. I really do not like to see stores filled with last minute shoppers on Valentines Day trying to hurriedly choose a card or gift.

Thank you Truckstop Sally for asking a question that allowed me to revisit some wonderful memories. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thank you Tony for being a most wonderful and thoughtful son and for making that Valentine’s Day one for my memory book. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thank you Cheryl Mesko for a very special memory and for not only keeping the secret but for finding a way to surprise even me. Happy Valentine’s Day!

And for everyone who read this know that a hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love to you. Thank you for stopping by to read this and I wish you a most wonderful and blessed Valentine‘s day, and that February, which is also know as the month or season of love, becomes one of your very best memories.

Love to all,

Nonna

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Comments 22 comments

pammy v 5 years ago

that was wonderful I remember the Mardi Grtas


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Fun times for sure. Thanks for reading!


2uesday profile image

2uesday 5 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Reading your words always brings a smile, not of amusement but because you are a very generous writer giving us a share of your happiness at situations that have mead you happy. Thank you for sharing this.

As to Valentine's Day gifts and gifts for Birthdays too they say 'it is the thought that counts' and I always think that means giving the right gift at the right time to the person and knowing enough about them to get it right. Voted up and useful and beautiful because that is how it reads to me.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you 2uesday. I appreciate your words of encouragement more than you will ever know. Have a great day!


Loving Paris 5 years ago

Good and informative.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York

Beautifully done, Nonna. A treat to read. Q.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you Quilligrapher for stopping by. Your comments mean a great deal.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

So glad I aked the question about special Valentines. You were kind to include me in your hub. Your son is very thoughtful AND so are you!


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

It was my pleasure but also you asked the question and you should get the credit. But really when you asked that questions a flood of memories can rushing in. Thank you!


Anjili profile image

Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

A well written hub. You are quite right about putting more feelings into our special occassions than turning such days into mere commercial opportunities. Keep up with it Dee and Happy Valentines day to you and those dear to you


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you so much Anjili. This was fun to write because it did bring such good memories. Thank you for the Valentine's wish and I send great wishes right back to you.


manjubose5 profile image

manjubose5 5 years ago

The Hub is very touchy and you've written thoughtfully. I feel proud getting such a strong writer on my way. Looking forward to read other hubs and bookmarked this.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thanks you manjubose5, I enjoyed writing this one. It brought back some great memories. I have known some really wonderful people in my life and each one bring something really special to my life. Thanks for the words of encouragement and support. I feel we are hear to help each other and we do. I will be thinking about you at tea time.


manjubose5 profile image

manjubose5 5 years ago

I count your comments and inspired.


Alhamora profile image

Alhamora 5 years ago from North

"children are the best gift givers as they put their very little hearts and souls into what they give." - so true. You really are a blessed writer.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you Alhamora. I prayed for a blessing or a happy surprise today and you show up with both. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment--a blessing.


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

You've reminded me of thoughtful presents my son's given me. Sometimes he really surprises me at the thought he puts into them. Once he gave me a beautiful little notebook and pen, that's what reminded me, bit they're still in the box because they're too lovely to use!

You always bring me warm thoughts with your hubs.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you so much aslanlight for reading and commenting. I always look forward to your comments. Sons are a real blessing but they grow up way to fast. My sons have families of their own now so I don't get nearly as many of those "thought-out" lovingly made or thought providing gifts. If I remember correctly, your son is a young man now...so find that pen and notebook and use it. It will make you feel very close to him every time you write something in it.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I missed this hub the first time around but am glad I found it today (after reading a question that Aslanlight has posted asking you to write a hub about what it was like writing magazine articles).

This hub was quite touching and reminds us all that the best gifts are, after all, those that come from the heart and our own creativity.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you Happyboomernurse. I'm told that in many cases timing is always perfect or at least in it's own perfect way we get what we need. My intention in writing this hub was to remind people not to take the day for granted...to reach out to someone...to put a little thought into what they were doing. I am happy that people are finding this hub in months other than February.

Thank you for stopping by and reading and more than that thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Your timing is perfect..today is Mother's Day and for whatever reason thoughts of my Mother, whom I lost some years ago, came flooding back ... she was the ultimate of love.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I agree that timing can be synchronistic. Prairieprincess has written a very touching hub titled, "Mother's Day For Those Who've Lost Their Mother," which is probably balm for the soul for anyone who has lost their mother, no matter how many years ago that may have been. You can view it at https://holidappy.com/holidays/Mothers-Day-for-Tho...


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago Author

Thank you Happyboomernurse I read the hub you suggested. It was, indeed, just what I needed. You are wonderful for doing that.

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