Writer - Author - Poet
Writer - Author - Poet

Family –the Heart of a Home

If you’ve read my memoir, Wandering …a long way past the past, you may recall that my relationship with my now-deceased mother was not particularly a loving one ‘nor a healthy one. In my book, I did not mention much in the way of positive reminiscences, as there weren’t many. However, there was a special day in my childhood. I was eight years old.

It was snowing outside. The snowflakes against the windowpanes melted and ran down toward the casements; the old radiator hissed in the corner. My family gathered around a small kitchen table. Two white candles burned brightly in their holders; the glass reflected my mother’s sparkling blue eyes. She was happy. I hadn’t seen her smile like that. I felt my insides vibrate.

My mother spoke softly. “Okay, close your eyes.”

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut. I couldn’t see a thing, but I did hear some rustling, a few clicks, and felt a cool breeze as she walked past my chair. Then, she clapped her hands and exclaimed, “Now open them.”

The kitchen light was off, and two more candles were on the table with a heart-shaped cake covered in white icing and little red candies. Small rosy boxes with a silver bow and a Valentine’s card sat before each of us. I can’t remember now what was in those boxes or even what was written on my card, but I do remember how happy we all were then. The laughter, the joy, the lightness in my chest, the way I swung my legs under the table. The overall feeling of weightlessness watching my family of origin celebrate Valentine’s Day. My mother’s big smile. The gentle tone of my stepfather’s voice. The squeals of my younger brother and sister. The luscious taste of a piece of warm cake on my tongue. It was so unusual. It was as if I stepped into a different world. Everything smelt of cinnamon, marshmallow crème, vanilla, and … love.

We never celebrated Valentine’s Day quite like that again. But that memory holds a special place in my heart for I think it was one of the only times I remember my mother whispering to me, “I love you.”

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Many will shop for Valentine’s cards or gifts. Some will bake cookies or heart-shaped cakes decorated in pink icing. Some will make their cards using crayons, colored pencils, watercolors, or pastels in anticipation of the Valentine’s Day party at school; all to celebrate a connection to someone special.  

Can you ever say and truly mean “I love you” enough?

“The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved.” Victor Hugo

Enjoy the Passage of Time.

Sharon

© 2024. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved.

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