Posted by: deadmousediaries | February 14, 2015

Will I Be My Valentine? – a question from Mitchell Kyd

For the first time in my life, it’s February 14th, and I am no one’s Valentine. Sounds crazy, right? Or at least dramatic. Or whiny. Or pathetic. But it’s true.

From my very first Valentine’s Day on the planet when I was just nine months old, there has been a man who loved me. Of course, at that time, and for many years beyond, that guy was my dad but he never let me down.

In terms of holidays, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a train wreck. Its origins don’t involve flowers, gifts and and heart-shaped paper doilies. The day draws its name from betrayal, death and martyred men but like many things in history, it isn’t the facts that we remember, it is the notion. And notions become word pictures preserved through the ages by writers. The romantic ideas we’ve come to accept about Valentine’s Day came from the pens of Middle Ages notables like Chaucer, long before Hallmark and Godiva learned to market them. The lore even includes a connection to St. Valentine’s Malady, a condition we know call epilepsy. There’s nothing romantic about that.

I don’t think my dad knew or cared about any of the history, he simply loved me. Every day. In the years before I understood anything about Valentine’s Day, my mom says he came home with little gifts, tokens of his love for his only little girl. Later, I remember the cardboard hearts filled with chocolates, each year more elaborate than the last, and mine always bigger than the one he brought my mother.

My dad came through on Valentine’s Day in all those grade school years when boys were stinky, gross, disgusting and dads were the most important men in daughters’ lives. He loved me through those gangly years when I did like boys but didn’t like myself, days full of hormones and wishful thinking when my body and my brain betrayed me like some psychotic stranger.

He never missed a year between the high school Romeos; a dad’s love is constant and enduring. He and Mom even came to visit my freshman year in college, cardboard heart in tow, making sure I was someone’s Valentine. I didn’t know it then but Frenchy was about to immortalize my mantra in the movie Grease: “The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy.”

I wish I knew how the transition happened. I don’t remember what my dad did that year it was clear the right man had swept me up, was making me his forever Valentine. Was this new man instantly in charge or did my dad acknowledge some silent ritual that handed off a father’s role of making me feel special? I wish I could remember.

At twenty-something, my dad’s cardboard hearts were replaced by Doug’s romantic cards and sweetheart roses. Then came boxed shiny things and pricey, late-night dinners. Over 36 celebrations, the new guy became my constant, my husband and a father.  And then he died.

Today is Valentine’s Day, my first one without him or my dad, and I must decide: will I still be loved and celebrated? I think I will.

Yesterday I bought myself a gift, some wine, and all I need to dine in style, dinner for one on Valentine’s. I have a movie and will make a fire. I will stay home and feel less lonely because there are sacred memories I need to conjure all alone in my own good company. I’ve been given a choice and I’ve decided; I can be my Valentine.

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Responses

  1. Happy Valentines Day Yvonne! You are loved 🙂

  2. Beautiful. Yes, you are loved.

  3. Love you girl..

  4. Love you, Roomie. Hold on.

  5. Happy Valentines Day, fabulous Yvonne, the Queen of Tarts!

  6. Cheers to you dear lady! I hope your fire, wine and memories were wrapped tight around you. You are loved, you are special and you share yourself with others……..wishing you blessings and all things good.

  7. Hugs and best wishes to you, Valentine girl!

  8. Kindred spirits, sweetheart. Valentine’s Day would have been our 38th anniversary (or “valiversary,” as a friend reframed it). Like you, I spent the evening before the fire with a glass of bubbly and my ghost. But I’ve had nine years to adapt to the ritual and draw comfort from it. For you, it’s the raw first. And my heart aches for you. And today … another agonizing first. You’re in my thoughts and in my heart, dear.

  9. Love you!


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