My Dad wasn’t many things. Success wasn’t measured for him in scholarship, career, finance or athletic ability. He never imparted wisdoms, past the occasional “If you don’t make your mother mad, life will be easier.”
Yet he had an incredible gift–he possessed the ability to share unconditional love. He never discussed this with me, but throughout my life with him I would see him smile and say “hello” to someone on the street. If I asked who the person was he would just quietly say, “Oh, I don’t know him, but it looks like we could both use a smile.” And that was it. No “parent-lecture” on the responsibilities to love one’s fellow man, no pontifications whatsoever.
I think about my Dad often, but especially on Valentine’s Day. He told one February 14th when I was a teenager in the midst of some boyfriend angst that Valentine’s Day wasn’t just for romantic love. That it was a day when even crabby people could shake it off and smile at a stranger. And of course he loved heart-shaped boxes, deep red roses, and silly cards. His favorite I think were the message hearts. Because they were fun, because he could give them to everyone in the office, because, as he said–they are a smile in your mouth.
My Valentine’s Day wish for all (including me), is to experience a little of the love my Dad had every day. Smile at a stranger, share some message hearts, give the critical brain a rest for the day, and just enjoy being alive.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Daddy–Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!