Valentine’s Day is my most unfavorite day of the year. Because of the life that I have chosen for myself as a celibate Catholic priest, which, to the best of my ability to know, is the life that God chose for me before I chose it, there is no one to “Be My Valentine.”
When my mother was still with us, I could count on one Valentine. In the mail, year after year, I would receive one of those simple (read: cheap) Valentines on flimsy paper, with the perforated edges indicating that it was one of a sheet of Valentines. It was the kind that I remember being passed around in the first grade. There was no breath-taking or tear-bringing message, like the ones we see on the jewelry and perfume and candy commercials. It would be signed simply with her heartfelt, “Love, Mom.” But mom is gone now for six and a half years. No more Valentines from her.
There is the cutest little blond girl in our parish, six and a half years old. She has taken to making me and bringing me a Valetine’s Day card every year. It so happens that she was born on the day that my mother died. Without her parents knowing me six and a half years ago, and knowing nothing about my mother, they gave their daughter the name, “Isabelle.” That was mom’s name. And they call her, “Izzy.” That is what my sisters and I called mom.
Izzy brought me a Valentines’ Day card today. I smiled. Izzy smiled. My mother smiled.