Friday, February 14, 2014

In Memory of My Last Valentine's: Seven Quick Takes

1.  Ah la jour de l'amour, n'est-ce pas?  (This is me showing off my high school French).  (St.) Valentine's Day, the day of love.

My sexy plans for today include getting the TB plant checked on my arm (you know that icky thing where they inject a blister-looking bump under your skin? That), bringing my 11 year-old to the orthodontist, and getting the tires on my van rotated (you can't make this stuff up... wish I was, lol!)  My husband and I may (maybe) exchange cards and the occasional furtive glance of fatigue over the mounds of kiddie clothes we are packing for an upcoming week-long visit with my mother-in-law.

And what are your plans?  You're green with envy, I know.  Sorry.

2.  Despite my pathetically non-celebratory plans, I honor this particular day more than ever before, since last year.  I've resolved, each Valentine's Day, to learn to love better.  No, not just learning, like, wifely submission stuff: the only recent time I recall being really good at that was when my husband told me I needed to eat the rest of the ice cream in the freezer quickly because he was on a diet and found it tempting.  :D  While normally I have some sort of opinion on everything, in that case I submitted to the head of the household without question. 

I'm really good at the easy stuff, when it comes to love: the movie version, when Cinderella meets Prince Charming.... 

Yes, it's seems I'm all into Disney clips right now.  :) Like the other day (click here if you need some more humor).

Actually, Dan and I ended up having our first dance to this silly song.  Yeah.  At least we didn't look too terrible; the waltz lessons paid off.  As is perfectly demonstrated by this high-quality photograph:

Nope, still not upset my dress wasn't bustled right.  Not at all....
This is the song that Cinderella sings with the Prince when they dance in the castle in the Disney version. (The DJ my mother hired for our reception behind my back was deplorable). No.  That ain't love. That's the result of staying up late after a hard day of cleaning fireplaces, having a fairy godmother apparition, a straight-up gorgeous ball gown, and having a prince ask you to dance in a castle. Anyone could love anyone under those circumstances.

3. Let's see... what's true love? Here was my first love:

Yep, it's our moms, right? Then dads, and siblings.  Then our best friend.  Our first crush. Later maybe comes a spouse, a child.  And each time we're like oh...This!  So this is love!

Then, ultimately, it's God.  Love Itself. Meeting Love Itself... that will be a great day, a truly divine dance.  Maybe that sounds cheesy. But I have this awesome mental image of..  well, for me, I'm in a twilight blue dress, running into the arms of my Father, with Him catching me up and spinning me around. And as soon as He touched me, every earthly hurt is instantly healed. 

Caught up in Love.

4.  I thought a lot about the "ultimate" meaning of love on Valentine's Day since I heard about a little girl named Sofie.  A dear high school acquaintance of mine from my youth ministry days had moved away, married a great guy, and had a beautiful little girl... a typical enough story.  Except her umbilical cord had gotten compressed and caused irreparable damage. Her dear mom and dad tried everything medical care could offer, and waited some more--hoping and praying for a miracle--but her brain would not revive.  

On February 14th, three years ago, they took their baby home, put her in her swing, her crib, her bath, read her a story, and removed her tubes.  She stayed with them till the morning, and then slipped away Home.

It was definitely one of those stories you didn't want to read, and an ending you prayed and hoped would be different.  But while tragic, it was still a triumph.  Facing the awful dilemma: that while love desires union with the beloved, love also wants the beloved's greater good. To have the courage to love, and the courage to let go.  

So this is love.  

5.  One year ago today, I was laughing with delight in a dark room, looking at a black and white screen. Content to sleep on her knees with her bottom in the air (love when you see kids sleeping like that; Felicity will demonstrate here):

my little one finally finally woke up for the ultrasound and began to jump.  As if on a trampoline.  She jumped a couple of time--I've had quite a few ultrasounds but this was by far the most entertaining--then settled to suck her thumb on her back, eventually  turning away from the wand.  

She was getting so sleepy.  I had no idea how sleepy.

Last Valentine's day was the last time I saw little Pepper alive.  The next time was several weeks later, with a ultrasound tech named Jill who kept telling me to be calm, tears streaming down her own cheeks. 

My little one had also slipped away Home.

Valentine's Day is bittersweet for me now.  It's awful that I can only visit my daughter on a snowy hillside today, leaving red-foiled hearts that stick in the snow.  But today I just as keenly remember the joy of last year, looking at all the effervescence of an active unborn child.  Loving her every move, every heartbeat, every perfect finger.  That love has remained unchanged, while changing me, and for the better I daresay.

6.  Actually, I think all this tragedy, all such losses and heartbreak... these are actually some of the very best love stories just missing their next chapter.  Sofie's and Pepper's story is, as yet, unfinished. The best part is yet to come. 

Here's another little (Disney) preview of my heaven: 

True love always has a happy ending in store.  Love never ends with a loss.

7.  Today, I wish all of us the happy version of love, the chocolate-covered flowery kind.  But if we don't have that right now... I want you to know it will, really, be okay.  You originate, live through, and continue eternally in divine Love.  You're absolutely surrounded by it. 

Happy Valentine's Day


  1. This is a beautiful post!! Especially #3, it is so, so true.