I’m dreading tomorrow.
Not because I’m single. Not because I have to teach at 6 AM or because this is one of the busiest weeks of my year.
I’ve been dreading Valentine’s Day for a while now. I’m scared my dad might have ruined this day for me.
In 8th grade, he gave me a V-Day that put most of the days of my life to shame. Ever since then, no amount of February 14th disasters has been able to sabotage my deep affection for this day.
My 8th grade year was the usual petri-dish of misery that most teenagers experience. It involved the typical drama: best friends becoming worst enemies (and then best friends again within a window of about 17 minutes), boyfriends (who you never ACTUALLY spoke to) being caught passing notes to other girls and such.
In the middle of that mess, I had the Valentine’s Day of my dreams.
My mom was out-of-town which mean that expectations in the Harford house for V-day were pretty low. To say that my dad was not into commercialized holidays would have been a drastic understatement. The concept of putting love on a calendar was borderline offensive to him.
I still remember rolling over in bed that morning. I still remember the haze of sleep clearing to reveal a cheesy bendy heart-shaped creature, and a potted daffodil plant on my side table with a card from my dad.
That may not sound like a miracle to you, but I know better.
My love language has always been people doing things for me that are outside their comfort zone; unnatural for them.
If my mom had done the same thing or if you sent me flowers tomorrow, I’d smile and say thank you and my heart would be warmed, but it wouldn’t go down as the best day of my life . (You are welcome to send me flowers to test this theory.)
My dad gave money to a holiday he hated, in a way I’m sure he thought was sickeningly cliché. And he did it because it meant something to me.
Daffodils were my birth flower. As a little kid I was obsessed with them. When my teenage self saw them sitting there I remember thinking: how does he even know that? How did he remember that? Where did he find those at this time of year?
I felt flooded with confusion and then clarity. I felt really and deeply known; seen and heard. Loved. Uniquely and specially.
It might be my favorite memory of my dad.
It has made every Valentine’s Day since one of my favorite days of the year. Every February 14th I wake up filled with joy and feeling so loved. I laugh a little, remembering that day. No matter what goes wrong, (and trust me – I’ve had some bumpy V days), I can’t shake the happiness hangover I’ve had since that day all those years ago.
And so I’m dreading tomorrow. Cause death has a way of making the sweetest things taste terrifyingly sad.
(Not to mention the fact that I’m single, have to teach at 6 AM and this is one of the busiest weeks of my year). Just kidding.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.
I pray today that God demonstrates to you His strange sweet love that is more unique and intimate than any in the world.
He’s pretty crazy about you. He has demonstrated His love: He sent Jesus. He too gave up what was normal and natural for Him to display love in a way that would make sense to you.
And that’s even better than daffodils.