14 February 2010


Though most fourteenths-of-February in my life have been largely uneventful, I remember one Valentine's Day with special fondness. When my sister and I were little girls -- probably seven and ten if I had to guess -- we came home from school to quite grandiose surprises in our respective bedrooms. While we were away, toiling at our little miniature desks at our little schoolhouse, mom and dad were up to some fine mischief. I distinctly recall walking into my bedroom with my tiny book bag (nothing in it, of course) and not knowing, at all, what to say. Instead of using words I giggled and jumped on my bed and, I suspect, threw my arms around their necks. My ceiling -- Angela's too -- had been transformed into a veritable circus tent with row after row of red and white crepe paper, all twisty and fluttery, connecting to the light fixture in the center of the room. On my bed, next to Foggy Bear (he came from London when I was just a tiny lass), was the most enormous heart-shaped, red-cellophane-wrapped box of every chocolate imaginable (at least in my mind) and a Valentine's Day card from mom and dad. I really hope that I still have it tucked away somewhere. I also remember that we ate those chocolates for weeks.

Since then, whether it was a lovely vintage tea cup and vase of lilies on my table in my room (I went through an English ivy and Secret Garden phase in high school) or potted tulips and Oreos while we were away at college, or a bottle of champagne and a stuffed dog that barked "I Ruff You!" on the hood of my pick-up at school (came on the perfect day when I was feeling particularly dreary and undesirable), mom and dad have been my solid-as-rocks Valentine dates for the duration.

This year was no different. Mom got me pink pajamas, three red mylar heart balloons and a pen with a big heart on the end that lights up when you write with it! Dad, I think a little bewildered by the fact that I have sworn off chocolate for a good deal of the month, gave me extra kisses and bought my lunch. That was plenty, I told him.

And it really was.