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.
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,