A student asked, "What was your favorite Valentine's Day?"
I didn't know how to answer.
So I sat there feeling foolish for my blank mind and what should have been a very special, well-remembered day, until it hit me, why I didn't remember.
My father's birthday was February 12th and for many years, I made my way to be with him on this day that often bled into the 14th. Most often the weekend was spent with Mom and my two sisters. Every once in a while, I'd bring a daughter, or daughters, and my niece would be there too. When Dad reached his eighties and his health began to decline, the parties gradually simplified. Dinners became simple and were held in the family dining room. Long gone were weekends in Coronado, nights at elegant restaurants, shows at a hotel, or even the front row seats at an Elton John concert.
It's impossible to imagine that anyone whom you can hug, or call on the phone, or someone who slips you a hundred dollar bill, could ever---not be, but it has never not happened. Someday, my daughters will spend their first Valentine's Day without their mother. Someday they may even be asked, "What was your favorite Valentine's Day?"
I hope too, that they will draw a blank. Not because they spent it in the non-traditional way with their mother, or father, or because they never had a stand-out day, but because there will have been so many loved filled days with a spouse, a child, a parent, and friends.
Happy birthday Dad; happy Valentine's Day Dad.