Each year, in the early days of February, I follow a pretty predictable pattern.
I grumble about the weather.
I google vacation deals I can't afford to sunny climes.
I mutter words things like, "stupid...crass commercialism...meaningless excuse of a holiday..."
I bake 12 dozen cookies.
I burn 3 dozen cookies.
I eat 2 dozen cookies.
I bake 6 dozen more.
I complain out loud about the red construction paper shortage in my home...the missing scissors...the impossibility of remembering how to spell 144 names...
At some point...usually while I am actively whining about my trivial, red and white polka dot ribbon wrapped problems...I'm hit with a healthy dose of perspective.
More than once, I've been reminded of how very much I have, in a very dramatic fashion. There was that year I nearly lost a dear friend in a horrible accident. More than one year at work, I've witnessed a Mother's grief. This year I felt fear, relief, joy and love...during a scary incident that turned out great for a dear dear friend of mine. Suddenly, I remember the near losses...and I'm flooded with gratitude for the love that surrounds me each and every day. And once that feeling of gratitude has kicked in...I simply can't stop. I'm filled with a burning desire to put on a stupid pink heart sweater and hand out chocolate to everyone I meet.
I start reminiscing about that day 11 and 1/2 years when I held my precious baby girl in my arms and my heart absolutely cracked open and grew 3 sizes like the Grinch. Then 2 years later, when I held my baby boy in my arms and found out that my heart could absolutely crack open and grow 3 sizes more.
So on this gray, drizzly day, I woke up all singsongysunshineandrainbows. I figured I'd already had my wake up call for the year this past weekend and I was embracing the pink and red heartedness of it all. My son and I were halfway to school (giant bag of peanut free treats in hand) when he said,
"Mom? Who was St. Valentine?"
"Well...uh...a long long time ago, St. Valentine helped people who loved one another get married. There were people who weren't allowed to marry each other but he believed in love so he helped them."
"Mom? How long ago was that?"
Never good at details I kind of jazz handsed the answer with, "A really long time ago. More than Hundreds of Years Ago"
My little man stopped and looked up at me with his wise 9 yr old eyes and said, "If it was More than Hundreds of Years Ago why are people still arguing about it?"
I had no jazz hands for that one. I just stood there quietly.
He went on, "I don't know if you're aware of this Mom. But there's this thing called Prejudice. And Hatred. There are still people who love each other that aren't allowed to get married."
And once again that kid absolutely cracked my heart open and made me love a little more.
There is work to be done. More than just cookies to bake and chocolates to hand out. There is still work to be done. I am filled with gratitude that my son just reminded me...
Happy Valentine's Day!