Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. ~ Marcus Aurelius
I remember standing and looking in the mirror when I was 18, 19, 20 years old and thinking, yet another failed Valentine’s Day. I made jokes, called it D Day instead of V Day. I wanted the movies, the fairytale, roses, candy, dinners, romantic overtures, that whole deal. But I was the cool girl you were friends with, and perhaps to dig deeper I most often wanted to date the boys who were not an ideal fit for me. I dated, I hooked up (sorry mom and dad), but I was also shy and insecure.
20 years later, Valentine’s Day is a totally different experience. I don’t have time to look in the mirror and what I see is no longer that girl. I see fine lines brought on by a life well lived and constant hum of stress. But those same lines become deeper when I smile. They fill in my face. They show me, that they years, Valentine’s Day to Valentine’s Day have brought me joy . Happiness. Smiles. My life has been full of family and friends, things I enjoy doing, and a career that gives me a place to explore what’s possible.
20 years later, Valentine’s Day is no longer about me. It’s about my Valentine’s. Last night Q and I sat, as he at 4 years old, needed to make a Valentine for one of his classmates. We sat at the table with the tiny left handed purple scissors, a piece of pink construction paper and a box of crayons. My insecurity came back. I am not good at crafts, what if whatever we make something ridiculous or Q looks silly or I screw up his Valentine’s Day. But then I remembered we were making this card for another 4 year old, and whatever we made would make her happy. So I folded the paper in half, which as I did it, Q told me, I need to fold the paper in half. He then told me we needed to make a butterfly. Little N would like a butterfly. The hot pink marker created an easy outline and I held the paper as he navigated the scissors around the outline. I then asked Q if he wanted to write N’s name on the butterfly. He said yes, and as I spelled her name, he wrote the letter. Big, long , oversized strokes, and then there was her name. Then he wrote his name, and “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
I watched and processed in disbelief. Where is my baby? Who is the boy wearing glasses writing his name as articulate the letters for him to write.
The purity of the experience of making someone else happy. Of watching my little boy embrace the meaning of celebrating his love for his friends was yet another reminder that when we can focus the lens elsewhere and start to see and think about bringing joy to others, it can bring even more joy to ourselves. Time is fleeting, next year will be different and there will be many times I marvel at progress, but always with the sweet sadness of watching my minis grow or becoming their own people. So Valentine’s Day is here and today I don’t worry about flowers, or candy, but I think about carving out special moments with those that I love, KSP, Q, E, and M, to show that I love them, to do something that will bring them joy and make today all of our ‘newfavoriteday.’