I missed my Dad and Mom on that Valentine’s Day. It was my first Valentine’s Day away from them. I was 20 years old and had moved away the previous summer. I had only moved a mile away! That didn’t keep me from feeling homesick.
I remembered other Valentine’s Days, when Dad would come home from work with two surprise Valentine hearts filled with chocolates: one for me and one for Mom. Each year, the size of the box of chocolates grew bigger as I did. The cellophane wrapper crinkled to reveal a little plastic rose decorating the top of the box. The inside smelled like a combination of paper and cocoa. The thick white wrapper that covered the chocolates and the small brown papers that held each piece were carefully kept in place even after I tasted each delicious piece. I saved the box for months just to open it, remember how it had first smelled and listen to the paper crinkle as I played with and folded up all the little papers.
Now that I was all grown up and on my own, I didn’t expect a surprise Valentine heart filled with chocolates. Though it was difficult, I secretly said good-bye to my Dad’s tradition.
After dinner I got busy washing the dishes, and the telephone rang. It was Mom. She asked me if I had gotten the mail. I hadn’t because I had forgotten all about it. I had been thinking about childhood Valentine’s Days.
After chatting for a while, we hung up. When I went out to the front porch to get my mail, I was so surprised and happy when I saw the very big Valentine surprise heart sitting on my pile of mail. That was a day when I really appreciated all the love and kindness of my parents.
It’s nice to still be a little kid in your parents’ eyes, no matter how big you get!