I thought I might research the history behind Valentine’s Day for this post – and to be honest – it gave me a headache. Although the actual origins are pretty much unknown – or argued depending on your religious preference – the one thing that rings true through it all is that Valentines is a celebration of lovers – young love, old love – it doesn’t really matter – it’s just the celebration of love. Hallmark and other card and chocolate companies have turned it into a multi-billion corporate holiday with people shelling out countless dollars for just the perfect way to say “I love you” to that special someone.
Amidst all the pink and red ruffled hearts, cupid depictions and sappiness, my family celebrates the holiday a little differently. Sure, my kids still collect their candy hearts at school, but at our house, everything is purple, we have a wonderful family dinner and give thanks that we’re all here to see another candy filled holiday.
It was 15 years ago this year that I sat on my couch at 2:30am reading a book when ren and stimpy (I’ve never known who they were – only that one was a big ole fella and the other a short shrimp of a thing) came knocking on my door before they knocked it off the hinges (yes, they knocked first, and why I would remember that or that it would count for anything – I couldn’t tell you) – upon seeing me awake and very obviously pissed off at the intrusion, they rang in my Valentine’s Day with a 9 mm bullet to my left side. To make a very long story short (and really, it’s not a very pretty one) according to the surgeons and doctors, there’s no medical reason I should be here writing this blog. Maybe it wasn’t my time, maybe I’m just too stubborn – either which way, I’m still here despite it and walking despite them saying I wouldn’t – and you’re stuck reading my blog *winks*.
Hang on to your britches, I’m getting to my point here directly.
When I came home from the hospital – I went to live with my parents for awhile while I continued with some pretty intensive physical therapy. The first day I was home, my father presented me with a pendant, a small purple heart surrounded by diamonds. The purple heart, he told me, was for bravery and fighting against the odds, the diamonds – there was one for each year I was old. Every year after that – instead of the red velvet box of chocolates and campy card, I received a gift from him that had a purple heart. No note was attached, no wise words, no loving sentiment – the purple heart said it all.
This year, I watched my Father, get out of his truck a little slower than in years past, I noticed the silver in his hair more, they little limp as he walked a little stiffer and all the other little indications that he’s in his 70s. In his hands a medium size box, no wrapping, no bows and I knew it wasn’t a box of chocolate. My father is a man of few words, but the ones he speaks always have value. As he came in the door, reaching for the door jamb to steady himself, he handed me the box and simply said, “It’s a milestone year.”
Inside the sturdy box gently cradled in a velvet lining, was a tiara, crusted with diamonds and amethyst – a single amethyst heart in its center. Along the inside band the inscription “Lovingly created for the brave of heart and all those that stand with them. 2013” So I say, instead of celebrating the love you have for just that special someone in your life, why not celebrate the love you have for ALL the special people in your life. We aren’t promised tomorrow – or for that matter – the rest of today. Take the time, say the words that you have in your heart. Don’t let it be just a day for lovers – let it truly be – a day of love.