Valentine's Day is here, once again. Smiles, kisses, flowers, candies, heart shaped boxes and balloons… a special day of the year when we can be kids again; a day when we can stuff our face with chocolate, play with big shiny balloons, do a little kissy kissy, and let our emotions loose on the ones we love. You can't help but spot people acting-how should I say-all emotional, everywhere you look.
A young man, in a nice expensive suit, is standing at the bus stop with a big bouquet of flowers. A young woman steps off the bus, not noticing the young man. He suddenly taps her on the shoulder. Surprise! Loud bursts of laughter ensue. Hands shaking, eyes tearing up…
Elsewhere, I see someone sitting quietly on the subway seat. Everyone is staring at her. Her cheeks are pink with excitement and maybe a little embarrassment. She is dressed up in a butterfly costume. She can hardly hang on to the big red heart shaped balloon that sways from side to side in the crowd. She is not a teenager.
None of these people, however, capture the spirit of Valentine's Day for me. They resemble the people in a movie, putting on a show, far from a reality familiar to me, far from the person I really love the most, my mother. She is my angel… in disguise.
No, she doesn't have wings, but she has the most beautiful hands in the world. The palms of her hands are like a treasure map. If you follow the smooth lines, you will be guided to her heart, a spring overflowing with kindness and compassion. She doesn't dress in angel-white, but she does dress modestly; she doesn't believe in wearing too much make-up; she never has, and I know she never will. Like a stunning pearl hidden inside an oyster, she doesn't feel the need to flaunt her god-given natural beauty.
She is honest and virtuous, and her intentions are good and selfless. Guests at her house are always overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity, and are constantly amazed at her boundless love and incomparable capacity for understanding. Like a gentle spring rain, her presence gives life to our house, and brings an air of freshness and liveliness everywhere she steps.
Most importantly, as a mother, she always puts her three boys ahead of herself and her needs. She has and continues to sacrifice her life, her youth, and her incomparable beauty for her children, for us. She is, however, more beautiful than she ever was, more youthful that one can ever imagine, and more loving than words can ever describe. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. Like the sun, lighting up my day, with her beautiful and genuine smile, she gives meaning to my life. She means the world to me.
On every Valentine's Day, God gives me a gift. Even though it is the same gift, it is the best gift I have ever gotten. He gives me my mother's presence, even though I don't deserve her. After all the wrongs I have done, all the trouble I have caused, all those nights I have made her worry about me, all those times I did not let her know how special she was to me… God still gives me a chance to show her how much I love her.
I know God has built my mom the biggest golden castle in paradise. I know I have nothing to offer to her, but my small heart… but maybe God will forget about her. And when God starts missing her, years from now, maybe he won't recognize her without her wings.
I hope this note of appreciation can, in some very small way, show her how much she means to me, and how her presence, like a stream of honey, continues to nourish the garden of my existence.
Why look for love in Paris and Rome,
When you have the prettiest rose at home.
Maman… Happy Valentine's Day.
……………….. Bye Bye Spam!