RISING SUN - Today, the Monday after Valentine’s Day, I picked up a lovely bouquet of flowers from the Village Greenhouse. A fanciful combination of baby’s breath, carnations, a rose and some fancy exotic flower I don’t know the name of.
I originally ordered these for the boys’ Grandma Janet for Valentine’s Day. However, the combination of switching days and Thatcher insisting upon candles and chocolates as gifts caused me to shift gears. So, I decided to give these flowers to the little love bug of our house, Thatcher himself, and his wild little brother Waylon (sorry Janet!).
When the thought popped into my head, it instantly made me think of my own mom. Not a frequent guest in the cast of characters in ‘From the Valley,’ my mom, Rhonda, was many thing,s but I’m not sure I would have classified her as a romantic. My dad, who always bought the finest of alluring of Hallmark cards, as well as other gifts of affection, would definitely be classified as the romantic type in our family unit.
But when I was little I always remember my mom in particular, making Valentine’s Day feel special. To me, Valentine’s Day is a much more fun holiday when you’re a kid anyway.
Of course, I’ve gotten my fair share of flowers and messages of love. But there was most certainly a thrill that went along with cherry-flavored everything and a classroom party. The exhilaration of flitting around the room depositing tiny pieces of folded cardboard carefully selected to send just the right message to your friends and classmates. It’s just kind of hard to match those feelings as an adult.
In addition to helping me select the perfect box of Valentines to distribute amongst my classmates, my mom would also always make us handmade cards and leave little gifts.
Many years, my mom, who was, for her entire career, a second-shift nurse, would leave these little treasures on our dining room table, awaiting our arrival home from school.
Although it was never a huge part of her life, that hardly anyone would have remembered her for, my mom was quite the artist. And this part of her would come out on Valentine’s Day.
Two particularly clear memories I have of Valentines she made for me was, first when I was in probably the first grade. She left me this extra special coveted pack of Lisa Frank edition markers. On my card she used the markers to draw one of the Lisa Frank unicorns and left a playful happy message inside.
Mu mother also had left a note telling me I wasn’t to take these markers to school, that they were for home use only. But of course, I ofsmuggled them into class anyway. Always being a bit behind the classroom popularity curve, I had hoped I’d draw in onlookers with my fancy new markers. And draw in the crowds I did, so much so they were sent home directly that same day. Whoops!
The other one definitely gets the award for my favorite card. We were always big Simpsons fans at my house. In fact, I have this silly memory of my parents arguing about something and me promptly pulling up a chair between them and crawling up on it to tell them to pipe down, “The Simpsons were coming on!”
So one year, when I was a bit older, she made us a card with the Villainous Mr. Burns on it and the message of ‘Be my Valentine or I’ll Release The Hounds.’
This year at home has caused my family, and I’m sure many others, to become even more closely knit than we were before. This is especially true when it comes to the kids. We are overwhelmingly fortunate to have this time together that isn’t fraught with terrible stress and heartache. Yes, we are certainly missing seeing the faces of our friends and family beyond our pod, but the love that has grown between us within the pod is something special it seems.
So for my Valentine’s Day, we celebrated the same way we’ve seemingly celebrated every holiday and milestone this year, quietly and together. We snuggled on the couch and watched lots of movies, we played games, we read books, and we did Thatcher’s newest favorite activity, drawing and card making.
While baby brother took his long afternoon nap, Mom, Dad and Thatcher worked on cards and doodles. Later Chasca and Thatcher cut and glued hearts and Thatcher worked hard to write ‘Thatcher Loves Mom’ on his. And Chasca shared a heartfelt message on his.
When Waylon woke up, he made his feelings known with lots of kisses and snuggles. It wasn’t lobster tails, giant hearts filled with chocolate, but it was perfect.I’m sure both Thatcher and Waylon felt all loved up by the end of the weekend–full of time spent with ole Mom and Dad, but I also like to think when I walk through the door tonight with a bouquet of flowers for them that the memory of feeling special and loved will be extra cemented in their little memories.