Sunday, February 14, 2010
Bittersweet Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day, that celebration of romantic love and friendship, didn't strike me ahead of time as a day I'd be feeling sad or missing Leif. It sneaked up on me as I was feeling loved and loving with Peter W., who is so sweet and tender to me. It struck me with a force, the memories of Valentine's Days past with my sons, helping them get their classroom Valentine's ready for school, sometimes making their shoebox Valentine "mailbox," receiving the Valentine cards they made for us at school, enjoying Valentine candy, and sometimes cookies, together. It was fun.
Even after my sons were teenagers, or grown men, I sent them Valentine cards and for years, also a small monetary gift, enough to take a date to a movie or go out for coffee. It was a chance for me to tell them I loved them, not that I needed one, since I took the opportunity whenever I could, but on Valentine's Day I could dress it up a little with a card.
I miss doing those things, but the things I miss most are being able to tell Leif that I love him and knowing he is alive and well. I will never have those again.
I hope he knew I loved him. Of course he did.
I am fortunate to be loved on this day of love, but I still miss my son. It's as though I spent years creating a beautiful garden that I loved and worked in with joy, doing my best to protect it from predators and disaster, and then some terrible storm came and destroyed a whole section of it, utterly destroyed it, leaving me only with memories of what once was, and wishing so hard that I had it back.
The photo of Leif is his school photo, taken in the fall of 1981 in Japan. He was six-and-a-half years old and in first grade. That was the year that this sweet little boy was taller than his teacher! The Valentine is an antique one, sent to my mother in the early 1920s. I enjoyed scanning old Valentines and printing them on cards. This is one I would have sent to Leif for fun.