Remembering Valentine's Day
With my senior groups we remembered the child's version of this holiday. Packages of tiny cards with white envelopes, conversations hearts, parties in school with pink cupcakes and red napkins...mostly happy memories.
Valentine's Day for Teenagers
Some of us learned to dread the holiday as we got older. It was a day when the popular kids flaunted their flowers and boxes of candy. The spotlight shined on the few who walked down the school halls holding hands. By high school, the special day was no longer about class parties for all.
Valentine's Day, Now!
Many of the folks I meet with each week are missing loved ones. I have to be sensitive about what kinds of memories can surface with thoughts of Valentine's Day. We focused on all the different kinds of love we can share. Children, friends, pets... There are lots of kinds of love.
We made our own cards at the Community Center. I noticed Nellie was looking a little sad. She said she would be missing her mother, who used to live with her. I told her this would be my first Valentine's Day since my mom had passed. We made cards for each other and promised to think of each other on Valentine's Day.
At Silverado we talked about all the sweet treats of Valentine's Day. Our least favorite treat... candy conversation hearts with their messages that make no sense...
And we loved listing Romantic Foods! Champagne, Italian food, chocolate covered strawberries...!
We listed our favorite couples like Rhett Butler & Scarlet O'Hara, Lucy & Ricky, Romeo & Juliet...
Words of Wisdom
Then we had a serious moment that was unplanned. Katie Lu, who is new to our group told a sweet story about meeting her husband. A young aide who had joined us seemed touched by the story and asked, "What is the key? How do you make a relationship last for so many years?" I wish I could have recorded all the wonderful words of wisdom shared by the whole group. Words that included honesty, humor and keeping things simple.
Cheers to Friendship!
The Atria group gathered on Valentine's morning. It was a little early for champagne, but we did have something bubbly with a little chocolate. We heard more good stories and my favorite was about Dorothy's husband proposing on Valentine's Day!
What I Learned
5 year old Andrea was the one who taught me this week. I had been overly cautious to keep things light so that memories of past loved ones wouldn't bring sadness. But Andrea with all her innocence, flipped through our scrapbook and found a picture of my mom. "There's your mom!" She smiled. "Do you miss her?" "Yes I do." I answered, and then smiled because I was happy to be reminded of my mom. Maybe I was being overly cautious with the others. Maybe they wouldn't have minded a little more remembering!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.