Valentine’s Day.

 Today Brave had a party at school for Valentine’s Day. Simple, sweet, chaotic. Kindergartners running around overly excited, talking way too loud, the anticipation of a sugar high firing them up.

I don’t know why, but those parties hurt my heart. Today a storm rolled through town (literally and figuratively).  The torrential down pour of rain and dark skies echoing the pain in my belly. It’s these little moments that make me acutely aware I no longer have a daughter. She loved parties. She loved treats and giving gifts and special little trinkets and all things sweet. She would have loved school Valentine’s Day with her friends. She would have loved picking out treats and cards and wearing red hearts and pink cupcakes. Skipping over all the girly valentine’s was tough. Longing to pick out ones I knew (or think I know. What would she love at this age? What would her interests be?) Amelie would want. 

Brave loves it too. 

He put on this giant paper heart and called out to me, “mama come here! Look at me mama!” When I read it, it hurt my heart so much my eyes welled up and my mouth crinkled and contorted, like l had just bit my cheek.  

His heart read: 

“I’m giving you a valentine. Don’t put it on a shelf. It’s one that you can hold and love. I am giving you myself. Love, Bravery”

I embraced him, whispering Amelie’s name just quietly enough to be audible only to my own ears.

Then we ran into the rainstorm, laughing, holding hands, tearing into the candy valentine’s, grateful for each other. Brave giddy, happily sucking on a giant red lollipop, never once sensing for a moment his mommy’s anguish and longing. 

While daddy is away, Brave is my Valentine tonight. I won’t put my heart on a shelf. I am giving you myself.