the cold wind of February sweeps across the land, I can’t help but
think about Valentine’s Day.
The first valentines I received
came from my mom. She made them all by hand, and they were beautiful.
She used paper doilies, ribbon, and red paper. Sometimes she’d cut out
pictures of birds or flowers from old greeting cards or out of
magazines and glue them on, but my mom was an artist. She often drew
the pictures and filled them in with colored pencils. I loved those
cards more than if she’d bought them at the store.
Once I started school,
valentines came from my classmates. We’d have a party with cookies or
cupcakes and red Kool-Aid, then we opened our specially decorated red
and white boxes and read all the little cards we gave to one another.
Those cards have changed very little over the years. They still
have cute cartoons on the front that say things like, “Be my
Valentine” or “It’s true, it’s true, all the birds love you.” Our
teachers always handed out tiny candy hearts with words of affection on
I’ll share a secret with you: I
have always been a bit romantic. I developed my first crush in first
grade, and I liked that boy all the way through school right up until I
graduated my senior year. (He never knew it.) But he wasn’t the only
boy I liked, not by a long shot! In second grade all the girls liked
Darryl. He was rather short and stout, and he had white-blond hair. One
day we chased him all over the playground, and when we caught him, we
kissed him . . . every last one of us. In the fourth grade I liked
Dennis and Billy, who each liked me sometimes, and sometimes not. In
eighth grade, I liked the twins Richard and Robert and their friend
Steve. I just never knew which one I liked the most.
Then in ninth grade, there was
Victor. He was tall and thin with dark hair and the bluest eyes you’ve
ever seen. And Paul, who was short and heavy with curly light brown
hair and the sweetest smile. Then Victor again. I developed a mad crush
on Dean, who was blond-haired, blue-eyed, wore glasses, and never knew
I was alive. I mustn’t forget Keith, a new boy who was funny, artistic,
and musical. And then for three long years, no one; not even a crush.
By then, boys wanted to go out to the movies or a sporting event, to
get something to eat or just hang around with friends. But my daddy
refused to let me date, so pretty soon I stopped being asked out.
college, my romantic turn of mind remained. I liked Bill, Paul, Salty,
Don, and Jim, but I was shy and much of that romance stayed quietly
hidden in my heart. For a short time I was engaged to David, but he
seemed too much like an old man in a young man’s body and wasn’t much
fun for a girl of nineteen.
later, when I was all
grown up and working in the library in our small town, a very handsome
young man came in. He had dark hair and dark eyes, and he was courteous
and intelligent. I liked him. I liked him a lot. So I made an effort to
be extra friendly to him: I asked about his family and the town where
he used to live; we talked about books and writers. I did everything I
could think of to let him know I wanted to go out with him and get to
know him better, but he just never took the hint.
One day I thought, “Enough of
You know what I did? I
out. He blinked real hard, stared at me, then grinned great big and
We were married less than a year
As Valentine’s Day approaches,
think about all the loves in your life: your parents, your friends,
your spouse, and children. Most of all, don’t forget the One who loves
us the most. Without Him, Valentine’s Day would be nothing but paper
hearts and candy.