From my family to yours.
Valentine’s day was my Grandmother’s birthday. How often do I remember going to her house to celebrate, with red and pink and white and heart shaped cakes, and usually a new rosebush for her rose garden.
I wish I’d spent more time there doing the nothings, like working with her in her rose garden. Don’t get me wrong, I loved, loved, loved being part of a huge family. My grandparents had 4 children, 2 stepchildren and raised two young nieces. All of them married and had children and I was part of that generation. There were a ton of us and when we all got together, there was peace and laughter and happiness. My Grandmother was relatively reserved on these occasions, but when she spoke, everyone else got quiet. My Grandfather was the loud and raucous one of the two.
But, there were other times, when she was ironing, or crocheting and watching her “stories” or cooking that I got to see a different side of my Grandmother. When it was just us two, we talked. I don’t remember about what, but I can remember that she talked. Mostly about the old days, carefully editing the story of her life so I only heard the good and the happy, even when they were poor and doing without.
I know her life wasn’t always like that. She lost at least two children, maybe three. She lost a sister and a husband before my Grandfather; lived through the depression; had babies and just worked her way through all of it. My Dad told me once that when my Grandmother couldn’t sleep, she’d get up and wash the kitchen floor. And in my first apartment, I started doing that, too.
But, then I stopped when I realized that maybe reading a book would be a better way to fall asleep.
Anyway, fond memory of sitting in the back yard fig tree, eating figs right off of it that my Grandmother had cut the stem off of with a paring knife. Her in a housedress, laundry on the line. Sun shining bright. Loose steel gray curls.
On this Valentine’s day, I am glad that I am part of a family that says “I Love You” so often that saying it because we’re supposed to,on a certain day, feels really weird.
Hope yours is the same.