My mother loved hearts. She had heart pins and heart boxes and heart PJs and heart picture frames and heart mugs and heart sweatshirts and hearts on her hats and socks and notepads.
A lot of corny stuff and things that seemed geared toward Pottery Barn tweens. But she also had them on her good jewelry – a yellow gold filigree heart around a rose gold rose, black onyx heart-shaped beads strung with freshwater pearls, a sterling bracelet with x’s, o’s and hearts in-between them linked forever in a circle. A perfect polished pink quartz heart on a thin silver chain.
I don’t know why she had this heart obsession. Maybe because she married my dad when she was 17 and never had her heart broken. Or because she wanted as much love as possible from everyone else around her. Or she was trying to protect herself from all the atrocities she watched on the 11:00 news. Or possibly to hide the imperfections of her own heart.
When she died I inherited her hearts. I also inherited boxes and boxes of Avon products but that’s another story that I wrote about here at my old blog. Some of her hearts went to Goodwill and some I gave to my daughters and the jewelry hearts I kept, but I don’t wear them very often.
But this Valentine’s Day, realizing there would be no Hallmark cards, roses, chocolate, cute stuffed animals, jewelry, lacy lingerie, restaurant reservations, hand holding or sex, I wore the filigree heart with the rose inside. And I wore it without irony or remorse. I went to Whole Foods, bought a tiny fancy cake, visited a friend, got my girls organic Swedish Fish and little succulents, made a doctor’s appointment, and got through the the day feeling ok. Not great, but not lonely to the bone, which is how I feel a lot these days.
I think Valentine’s Day is a bit much anyway. A little too cutesy and a lot of pressure. At it’s worst, a day of perverse capitalism and sentimental slobber and feeling bad about yourself. But it is also a day of hearts. And my mother loved hearts. So for her, and for all the other mothers, and for those of you who are lonely or feeling the ugliness of the world hovering over your shoulders, I wore a heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day, a little late. Hope you looked around and felt some love that gave you a bit of hope, a moment of joy, a full heart.