My first Valentine’s Day as a married woman, at the ripe old age of 22, I had a major meltdown when stores began to close and no flowers appeared. It was a Saturday night in the days before supermarkets sold fresh (or what passes for fresh) flowers. In desperation, my husband bought the next best thing: a vase from Macy’s that would hold flowers the following Valentine’s Day when he would be older and wiser.
Thirty years later, I still love gifts of flowers (and I even got a bouquet a few days early this year, to mark the anniversary of our first date!). But my idea of what counts as an expression of love has changed. For the better, I think. My friend, Anne, says it best in her poem, Love, which is reprinted here with her permission. (For more of her thoughts, check out www.anneethompson.com.)
Do I carve big hearts in the sand.
Neither do I scribble our names entwined.
Nor do I keep your photo’ under my pillow.
Nor chant your name like a rhyme in my head.
I do not whisper about you with friends,
Nor blush when I hear your voice.
I do not loiter in the places you may pass,
Nor practice smiles for you before a mirror.
My heart thrills at the sound of your laughter,
And I watch the clock when your arrival is near.
I am content when I manage to please you,
And I watch your face when you drive or read.
I learn every wrinkle that creases your smile,
And I bend to your moods as they change.
For though time may mellow and age us,
My love for you remains
by Anne E Thompson
Thank you, Anne. And thank you, Fred, for living love, instead of buying it.