If you’ve read my bio, you know that I am a widow. I don’t write specifically about it much anymore, but the experience of loss and living with loss shades my perspective of everything I experience.
Valentine’s Day. It can be a difficult day when you’re “alone.” There used to be flowers and fancy dinners to dress up for and gifts.
Flowers. Usually they seemed like a waste of money to me. They’re beautiful, but cut flowers had their lives cut short. They’re temporary. Finally, they go in the trash leaving some crunchy dried petals that make a mess on the floor and a glass vase that went into the collection of glass vases under the desk in my office, waiting patiently for “someday when they might be needed.” Flowers are expensive. Sometimes they cost more than we really had. But, receiving flowers at school, was a symbol of love and communicated I was that special to someone.
Valentine’s Day. Even after Alan was gone, every year someone has made sure I felt special. The first two Valentine’s Days I was still working as a principal and someone at school helped “my kids” send me flowers. I never found out who took the time to be kind and remind me that I was special and cared for.
Last year, I wasn’t expecting anything and was trying not to worry about it, when I was surprised again. I went to Zumba and my dance studio was kindly giving roses to the students. The roses brought a smile and I realized that a night of dancing and rose was a beautiful Valentine’s Day.
This year, I realized Valentine’s Day was coming several weeks ago and started thinking about flowers. After a moment of worry and sadness, I shook it off. It would be fine. Then I was given the opportunity to teach a yoga class on Valentine’s Day. I knew the class needed to be special, so I started curating the playlist and selecting heart-opening poses. As I listened to love songs, it occurred to me that not everyone experiences Valentine’s Day the same way. It’s not all about flowers and chocolates and a significant other. That thought influenced my class plans. My class isn’t about me, it’s about giving to my students and creating the experience they need and want.
I grew really excited about the class and was so happy to have something special to look forward to on Valentine’s Day.
Enter: The Groundhog. Sure. He said, “Six more weeks of winter.” But, did all six weeks worth of snow in subzero temps have to fall this week? The forecast wasn’t great for Valentine’s Day, but the brunt of the snow was for later in the day, so the class went on as scheduled.
I had gone in to the studio for the earlier class. To my surprise, the teacher said, “I had some tulips I repotted that I was going to bring you this morning. Purple ones. But, I forgot them on the counter.”
“Oh, wow! That was so nice of you to think of me!” I replied in surprise.
She said that next time she came, she would leave them behind the counter for me.
Another student commented that they might have gone into shock if she had brought them in such cold weather.
It was probably for the best.
Honestly, the mere thought that went into the kind gesture of planning to bring me flowers meant so much to me. Once again, Valentine’s Day flowers would come unexpectedly.
My class was a fun experience for my students and I. Following it, I made the careful journey home as the winter weather was beginning to defy the best efforts of the city and county road crews. Basically the next couple of weeks were a snow-pocalypse, relegating most people to their homes. It finally melted and the warmer days of meteorological spring ensued. On a rainy day in mid-March, the purple tulips were waiting patiently when I arrived at the studio. The tulips shared the special message that once again, I was not forgotten on Valentine’s Day and that it was time to “spring forward” into a new season.
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