Valentine’s Day: My Personal Essay

My Note: A quote by Rosa Parks from Inspiring Quotes (online) seems appropriate with my essay, since fear of failure has been a large part of my healing after divorce. I featured Rosa Parks a few days ago as part of Black History Month.

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
— Rosa Parks

This is a photo of a 634 heart-shaped puzzle I am building, a gift from my daughter Eileen. Here is a quote from Seltzer, the manufacturer, a “woman-led company that values creativity, curiosity, and laughter. We make products that are all about expression, connection, and making some human time in our modern lives.”
( P.S. Their puzzles are made from recycled cardboard. Yay!

During my 13 single years between 1990 (separation from my first husband) and 2003 (meeting Alan, my second husband), I rarely had someone special to share Valentine’s Day with, so I changed my mindset about this day and started celebrating it as love for family and friends, not just a sweetheart. In fact, last year I sent Valentine’s Day cards to many friends and family members. This year I just mailed postcards that I found with photos of Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers (gift from my older daughter, like the puzzle) with a short message.

As Elinor Lipman’s character Margo notes in The View from Penthouse B , “Love comes in many temperatures.” I agree. My love/relationship for/with my second husband Alan is a completely different “temperature” from my first husband. We are on a more equal basis, making even small decisions together. And I feel loved. And my love for my children is another degree of love, and still another degree for friends and extended family.

For me, Valentine’s Day is now a perfect opportunity to connect with all loved ones: by phone, email, snail mail, and if we are lucky, in person. It’s also a good day to love Mother Earth for all her bounties and make a commitment to tread more lightly on the planet, every day.

Finally, being in the Creative Writing group at our senior center (virtually) has added another level of love to my life: sharing my love of writing with others who also love to write. This is a different “degree” of love and I appreciate being able to share my stories and hearing other stories. (Actually, this essay is from last week’s prompt.)

To wit, we can still express love in the time of COVID, because love (at any temperature) never goes out of style!


P.S. Here is a poem (one of many) I wrote after meeting my second husband Alan when I was 65 and moving to Philadelphia. (Love is more comfortable the second time around at any age!) I chose this rhyme because you all know my love for food, since this website started out with a focus on healthful, vegetarian recipes.

Menu f♥r Love

Loving Alan lets me be who I am,

Like whole wheat toast with naturally sweet jam.

Being with Alan allows me to be just me,

Like yogurt with berries and herb-laced tea.

When I am with him I can snack and munch,

Enjoying a salad and croutons for lunch.

Living with Alan makes me feel like a winner,

Like tofu with stir fries “wokked” up for dinner.

Being together helps erase all the hurt.

He’s breakfast, lunch, & dinner & especially dessert!

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