artwork by Joseph Lorusso
On February 14th of my senior year in high school, Señorita D flounced into Spanish class, singing out "¿Qué día es hoy?" What is today?
"Jueves," we all answered with one disgruntled accord. Thursday.
Señorita D must have been disappointed. Shouldn't the best and brightest students of a Romance language have a better attitude toward Valentine's Day? Maybe she should have tried the French class.
I'm sure some of my classmates were attached at the time, but they didn't seem too optimistic. I knew no one liked me; I wasn't pursuing anyone myself. Why should anything special happen?
And yet I felt cheated. Shouldn't Prince Charming Intelligent Witty Handsome Morally-Excellent (royals always have a lot of names, you know) appear and sweep me off my feet? Just because it was Valentine's Day? Didn't I deserve that?
I guess I did, eventually. Prince All That And More and I have been settled for several years now. We recently heard a presentation given by a younger couple regarding strengthening marriage. They mentioned the oft-quoted truth that one of the most important things parents can do for their children is to show love for each other. "It may sound like we kiss a lot," said the husband. Their seven- and four-year-old children protest these displays of affection, rolling their eyes and saying "Eww." "But they love it," he claimed. At least, someday they'll appreciate it.
I reflected: we do plenty of kissing, too, but I've never heard any negative remarks from our children. Yes, they're all boys. But they're fairly affectionate ones.
The youngest, at age six, is still on the receiving end of lots of hugs and kisses, since he's still so darn cute. He gives pretty well, too.
The nine-year-old is getting pretty tall, but still thinks Dad is a good seat, or jungle gym.
The twelve-year-old is very physically oriented, as likely to trip or throw things at his brothers as to look at them. But he also freely gives rib-cracking hugs. We know in whom we'll trust if we need the Heimlich Maneuver.
Before our oldest learned to talk, he knew when kissing was going on, and would smack his lips to ask for his share. He's a more stand-offish fourteen-year-old now, but will still wrap his long arms around the group hug when Dad comes home.
The boys don't see Dad bringing flowers very often, but they do see him doing dishes. They don't see us go out on dates frequently, but they hear us talk and laugh. And when there's kissing going on, they either ignore it, or join in. I think they know our family is based on love.
I'm entitled to love every day, because I also give it away.
So, if Señorita D were to show up today and ask the same question, I'd probably give her the same answer, but without the bitterness. It's Thursday, another opportunity to help each other live Happily Ever After.