Well. Earlier today I had one of the most beautiful compliments ever from my son. He told me I was "the shining star" of positive thinking and cheerfulness, even though he thought there were major areas of my life that were really not good. He said that tentatively... as if I might not realize my limitations and/or life disappointments. About ten minutes later he refused to listen to even one paragraph of my recent blog because the earlier January "Sassy Aunt Thelma" blog post did him under and broke his tender heart! lol He hates to cry.
Valentine's Day is just a painful day for us both because of the romantic failures we so deeply block and deny in our respective lives. I have always liked the hearts and roses, the old lace and vivid opportunity to declare undying love. If I could fit into that wool, red plaid skirt and vest with the red silk blouse I wore on a really early date with my first husband, I would be so delirious! However, nothing fits from that 1972 date... Absolutely. I recall the outfit, my leather Mary Janes, the black tights, a 17" skirt... the restaurant, the shrimp I ordered, the fried chicken on his plate.... Simply beautiful. Probably there is a photo somewhere snapped by my dad, but I really don't need it.
Another year later I was treated to the "trifecta," --- dinner out, a stuffed bear I named Aloishus Prairie Bear, and red roses. I gave him the heart-shaped box of chocolates. Tonight I wish for ... actually? that box of chocolates might top my list! I had on a navy and cream dress with a four inch belt... and a bright red patent chain mini purse... I know no photo exists of that night, just as really no trace of that marriage exists. We divorced in three years and shared no babies and only one conversation at a class reunion and one short sympathy text when his mother passed away... in over 40 years.
I have been witness to many married friends and coworkers who smiled and kind of shrugged at the deliveries of roses from spouses. To them, it was an "of course" kind of thing. Isn't it the odd artist's stroke of the brush that paints our lives either with... or without marriage, normalcy, consistency... or roses?
My mother never missed a beat to drive it home that I made the bad decisions of whom to marry and why to divorce... twice. My failure rocked her pride to her core, I believe. She loved me just the same, but she was angry that I messed it up. My mother and (I am pretty sure) I would rather be shot in a firing squad as the henchman of our own stories than be labeled a victim. Let it be clear I screwed my love life... either by my own failures and flaws or by choosing so poorly.
And... I really don't think my life is at all bad. Valentine's Day is only once a year, and I cherish mostly happy remnants of pink iced sugar cookies with red hots, countless joys, blessings unlimited, sweet carnations from a disappointed son who truly wished for the kind of love he saw unfurled at his feet by grandparents who met in high school and fell for each other in the most admirable love story ever written.
So... the mailman left the house today with a bag of about 40 homemade Valentines. My son scoffed at that news with a "You need a hobby, Mom!" laugh. I read him loud and clear. He usually loves my paper art... but not for "Hallmark Day."
In 6 days it will be February 15th... If you are one to get those annual roses, enjoy. If not... Valentine Schmalentine... have a cookie.
Whimsy and Hugs!