I wrote this last Valentines Day and still feel it is relevant now so please forgive the repeat. Just add a pink rose each for my girls and a red rose for me brought to us along with the candy from the most wonderful man in our life.
Happy Valentines Day to you all. This date brings back wonderful memories of my parents. I don't know when the tradition started but my Dad would come home from work each Valentine's Day with small heart shaped boxes of candy for my sister and I. My Mom would get a 1 pound box of chocolates in a gorgeous heart shaped box as well. Growing up it never occurred to me that something so every day and ordinary would melt my heart years later. It's not that I didn't appreciate the gift or the thought but when you're young you just don't understand what's happening behind the scenes in the adult world. You're insulated in your own little world of going to school, playing with your friends and tolerating your siblings.
Flash forward to years later. My father has passed away almost two years prior. My mom is dying and we are talking as one does when you know time is short. I brought up the annual Valentines Day candy gift. My Mom divulged how hard it was for my Dad and her to afford to get those boxes of candy. Mom was a full time homemaker at the time and Dad was going to night school to get his degree in Chemistry. Money was really tight, so tight in fact that Mom said Dad might have $2 left out of his paycheck each week to put gas in our station wagon to get back and forth to work. So I asked Mom how they managed to pay for that candy. She said that Dad would brown bag his lunch for a month and she would cut down the grocery bills as much as she could so he could get the candy for us.
Of course this was a revelation for me. The four of us (myself, my sister and my two brothers) always had what we needed, plenty to eat, nice clothes to wear and a really great place to live. We were surrounded by friends and tons of family. It never occurred to me how hard it must have been raising 4 kids on one salary and of course my Dad going to night school for his degree. Pretty daunting if you ask me.
But my parents met the challenges head on and no matter what fate threw in their way they marched forward together facing those challenges. Those challenges did not get easier as time went on. Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1998 and Mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 1999. Dad passed away in August of 2001 and Mom in July of 2003.
Very early this morning my husband arrived home from his job. He works the evening shift. This allows me to be home with our daughters and run my home based business. My business is new and doesn't bring a lot in right now but I love what I'm doing and that I'm here for our girls. Sometimes after paying the bills my husband has $20 left for the week to buy gas to get back and forth to work. He brown bags his lunch most of the time. As he walked in the door at 2:30 a.m. this morning I saw he carried a plastic bag. I asked him what was in it and he pulled out two small red candy heart boxes of chocolates for our girls. There was also a 1 pound box of beautifully boxed chocolates for me. I knew he had no money to buy the candy and asked him how he did it. He said he saved his lunch money for a week because he wanted to give his sweethearts something nice on Valentines Day.
So we've come full circle now. Whereas once I was the little girl receiving the small heart shaped box of chocolates, I have now become the mother receiving the 1 pound box of chocolates. I'm hoping and praying that my girls meet men who will continue the tradition that has now spanned two generations in my family. Men who give without thought of what they are giving up. Men who love them to pieces and will cherish them. For that is the greatest gift of all.
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