Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

I cannot believe that February is half over and I have not written one post. What happened to all that talk  about being more disciplined? About walking opening up reservoirs of ideas  for me to write about? About crossing thresholds into new and uncharted territories?  I honestly can't say what happened.  I guess new ideas have to ferment for awhile before they are ready to spill out onto the page. 

Today is Valentines Day and still words fail me. Not that I don't know about love. But what can I say that hasn't already been said by poets, writers, artists, singers, lovers, priests, candy stores, kindergarten students, Disney characters, moms of newborn babies, families in Hospice rooms, movie stars, con men and greeting card companies?  

Writing blog posts is hard, but writing love letters is even harder. Have you ever tried to write a love letter and couldn't find the right words to say what you were feeling? I came across this advice column that one of my very favorite  people in the whole world wrote a few years ago. (Perhaps if you are trying to write a love letter, you could start by saying "you are one of my very favorite people in the whole world.) When asked how to write a Valentine love letter, Dear Wendalina answered like this:
" … you don't need to be a Latin lover or poet to write an amazing love letter. You needn't be a writer or have a way with words. Very simply, and  like Michael Jordon and Nike implored you to do, just do it. Just sit down and write one. Write something."
For all my writer friends who suffer from writer's block or lack of ideas, I'd say this is pretty good advice for you too. Sometimes the more we think about things, the harder it is to do/say/write them.  

Wendalina goes on to say:
 "observations are key when you let someone know you've noticed the small things. F0r instance, you couldn't help but walk with a spring in your step if you got into your car and found a post-it stuck to your steering wheel that said simply, 'I love the way you look in your jeans.'"

I'd like to take some credit for Wendalina's advice giving knowledge. Sure she's my daughter, but she's been the recipient of great love by other people than me. Her late husband sent her 100 roses one time, and wrote a list of 500 reasons why he loved her another. I can't say for sure, but I don't think these gestures of love were restricted to one day on the calendar.

Which brings me to another piece of Wendalina's sage advice. Love letters don't have to be just for Valentine's day. And they don't just have to be for significant others. 
" … Mom's love love letters too. And so do those girl friends who brought you a cupcake the day after you found out your boyfriend was a cheat. And kids and Dads too. It is always cool to be on the receiving end of a love note. So just do it."*

My Sweetie and I don't wait for the official Valentine's Day to exchange I love you's. It's not uncommon to find a card taped to a computer, or the coffee pot, or the bathroom mirror. The other night I found a rock under my pillow. Not the princess and pea kind of rock, Sweetie knows I can fall asleep faster than he can say good night. This rock was printed with "I Love You More" our ongoing Valentine.
Often, after the light is turned off and we're arranging our pillows, Sweetie will say, I love you.
I love you more, I say in response.
Well, I love you more than all the apple pie in the universe, he says, or something like it.
I love you more than all the sugar and cinnamon it took to make all the apple pies in the universe, I say.
And so it goes until there's no possible way to love each other more.  It's a great way to fall asleep.

Wendalina and I do something similar when we write each other letters. We sign off by saying, I love you more than …. and fill in the blank with what we're feeling at the time. It can be a cold glass of tea and a good book, or a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, or pink baby piglets, or date night with my Sweetie, or cats and quilts, or bubble baths. You get the idea. Our shared new year's resolution, actually more plan than resolution, is to send each other a love note every day for the whole year. Sounds daunting, I know. But it's turned out much easier than I thought it would. Probably because we added the codicil that there's no feeling guilty if one of us misses a day (or two). Checking the ongoing love journal has become the first thing I do when I turn on the computer in the morning, and the last thing I do before shutting it down.

One more Valentine I get on a pretty regular basis is from Bella. Every night after she's had her bath, been rubbed with lotion, had her hair combed and her fleece pajamas zipped and snapped, I give her a great big hug. Thanks for a great day, I whisper. I love you. Before she hops down she tells me she loves me. I don't think for a minute Bella knows what she's saying. What does a 2 year old know of love? But I do think I rank up there near the top of things she cares about like raisins.

I leave you with one more piece of unsolicited advice on love by Dear Sugar:
“I can't say when you'll get love or how you'll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it's never too much to ask for it and that it's not crazy to fear you'll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It's the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It's worthy of all the hullabaloo.” **
My wish for you is that you find love in expected places, that you spread love instead anger, that love is the thing you return to when other's hurt you, that love is the gift you give yourself. May it be so.
Merry ME

* Dear Wendalina ℅ 2/7/11
**Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it. It's by the author of Wild which was another book on my list of favorites.