MONDAY: A Valentine’s Gift


Copyright is held by the author.

A DAZZLING array of pink and red filled her vision. A myriad of glittering objects all demanding her consideration. It was an overwhelming, almost dizzying display. The sheer volume of them was staggering. They stretched out on either side of her in long rows, densely packed from the floor to above her head. Some were tiny, a single precious offering while others huge and ostentatious. The harsh fluorescent light reflected off their mirrored text and off thick satin ribbons, giving them a jewel like quality. Each package was presented as a symbol of love.

She knew it was just a marketing ploy, that love did not come in a box and could not be delivered in a perfectly wrapped package. Yet she still craved one of the sparkling packages, they called to her, a promise of a decadent treat, a small moment of guaranteed joy. Even though they would never mean as much as a heartfelt conversation, a kind gesture or a spontaneous hug, it was an excuse to tell her loved ones how she felt and remind them of the love she had for them. Life was full of grey, difficult and tedious moments and she believed everyone could use a little colour and warmth, especially on this cold February day. She perused the selection, picking out her family’s favourite chocolates and selecting cards with humorous statements that reflected her thoughts.

As she sat at home reviewing her gifts, considering what she would say on their cards, she questioned her motives. She knew the messages would never feel sincere since society demanded they were given on this day and yet not to take the time to give them seemed to say more. She had made the purchase for them, but she knew it was also for her. She looked forward to seeing the simple pleasure in her children’s faces as they received the treats, and it was an excuse to catch an unwilling hug from her teenager. Although they were getting older, her children still possessed that youthful enthusiasm and joy for life. Everything seemed funnier, brighter and more real in their presence.

The row of gifts, carefully selected, stood at attention on the edge of the table, all but one promising love. It was that last one, the smallest, that sat taunting her. It was purchased on a whim, as an apology and represented her guilt. She knew there was one person who she was not good at forgiving, who she did not spend enough time with, and from whom she expected too much. On this day of love, it was time to make amends. This year she would try to gain forgiveness. She pulled out a card and started to write.

I want you to know I love you for the person you are, not the person I want you to be. I know I am critical. I push too hard. I have been using criticism to motivate you but instead it has lowered your confidence. My expectations are high, but I believe in your potential. I don’t show you the tolerance that I show others. I don’t give you the time you need to change. I put everyone else first. I promise to do better. I promise to love you, wrinkles and all. To accept your imperfections and help you regain your confidence. I will show you the forgiveness I show others. I will give you a second chance and a third one, whatever it takes to heal. You deserve my love.

She closed the letter and clearly printed her name on the envelope.