When the kids were young, he used to bring Valentines home for all of us. He would stop at Safeway on his way home, stand in the grocery aisle reading cards until he found the four he wanted, then choose a chocolate treat for each of us. It might be chocolate heart lollypops or small boxes of Whitman’s for the kids, but it would always be dark chocolate with nuts for me . . . and a bunch of tulips. My favorite. He would close himself in the bedroom before supper, to sign each card. I would make a special meal. We saved “going out” for anniversaries.

On our second date he took me to a fancy restaurant in Atlanta, ordering shrimp scampi and Crème de Menthe on vanilla ice cream for dessert. I thought he was so sophisticated and handsome. We flew to Indianapolis for Christmas to meet his family. He almost forgot my name as he introduced me . . . but he took me downtown to see the most beautiful Christmas window displays I had ever seen and bought me candied orange rinds dipped in dark chocolate from a little candy store we wandered into. We were married four months later in the university campus chapel.

He’s not out shopping for my Valentine’s card or chocolates today, though he’ll probably suggest I choose a bunch of tulips next time we’re at Costco. He’s in his red flannel shirt, sleeves rolled up, puttering with the breakfast dishes. We’ve spent more than fifty Valentine’s Days together. I’ve had lovely trips and a diamond anniversary ring, spa treatments and fancy meals out. But I’ve had many more gifts chosen by my daughter (so he’s sure I’ll love them), fish-and-chips dinners at Nickel Charley’s on anniversaries, and Dairy Queen cheeseburger lunches on birthdays . . . even an empty stocking one Christmas! And yes, I’ve pouted once or twice. But I know this. Valentine’s Day will come and go with the same affirmations of love that I receive every day. Morning hugs in the kitchen, his cheesy scrambled eggs, chores shared, doors opened, groceries carried in, keyboard fixed, night pills set out for me with a glass of cold water, a gentle tucking in bed. All the little things that add up to everything. His lovely love language.

February 13, 2023 . . . We didn’t know, of course, what a year would bring. How grateful we are for another Valentine’s Day together. My guy’s beginning to putter again . . . returning to a few of his tasks. We’re at the eight week mark. The walker is parked. Home Care nurse and physical therapist visits will be ending next week and Cardiac Rehab starting next month. All good milestones. And we have big plans for Valentine’s Day! You may have read all about them on Instagram or Facebook. Remember, it’s all a gift.

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

Fiddler On The Roof- Composed By Jerry Bock, Lyrics By Sheldon Harnick 
Broadway Musical 1964

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