Valentine’s Day is a bitter sweet holiday. For those with a romantic relationship, it’s a good time to remind our partner how much they mean to us and when it is reciprocated, it is a magical day. For those without a special someone, it can be an annoying hindrance as friends and co-workers squeal with delight about receiving flowers and the restaurants get too busy to offer the usual menu items we like.
My family has always gone a bit overboard on Valentine’s Day, expressing their love for me through cards, hand-made and store-bought, and roses. This was especially true back when I was the only “pink team” member of the family ten years ago. When we adopted my daughter, the “blue team” became a little less conscientious, knowing my dream for a girl had been fulfilled, but remained loving on a daily basis.
On the morning of Valentine’s Day this year, our family celebrated with the traditional exchange of cards, chocolate, and flowers before everyone went their separate ways to school and work. It was a lovely way to start the day but the best Valentine’s gift I have ever received happened just before my daughter stepped onto the school bus. She got out of the car in the parking lot, walked away and then turned around to give me the “I (heart) you” in hand sign language (see picture). As a budding teenager, the rare loving communication in front of other kids literally melted my heart and tears came crashing down as I drove away.
I adore my two sons, now young adults, who keep responding to me in loving ways when I need it. Additionally, I am overjoyed that ten years after adopting my daughter at birth, I am starting to see the relationship between us grow into the mother-daughter love that I had with my mother. I realize that the teenage years will create some friction between us, especially as the color pink fades out of her closet, her friends become more interesting than family, and the music gets louder and harder to understand. I look forward to the changes, both positive and frustrating, but those moments that she communicates her love will keep me content no matter what else happens.