Just a thought… You may hold my hand for a while, but you hold my heart forever. [author unknown]
Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day that engenders as much antipathy and cynicism as it does excitement and genuine affection. I was always of the mindset that any day that inspires people to even think about love and to express it is good in my books. I’m sure I’ve told you that Rob and I don’t mark V-Day, as our anniversary comes just six days later. But still, it’s always a good opportunity to take inventory of how lucky we are to love and be loved.
When a heart has been broken, as ours (like so many others’) have been, you wonder if you can ever truly love again. I felt that way when Rob and I broke up just a few weeks after our first engagement.
We had fallen for each other hard and fast, which came as a surprise to us both: I dated stock traders, lawyers and cops, but here’s this guy with a beard and a motorcycle with whom I thought I had little in common, except our abundance of love for and knowledge about the Beatles. We went out to dinner on what most decidedly was not a date (I had a free meal because I did a restaurant’s ads, and then off to Second City – another freebie – to do a review).
But there we were, having discovered chemistry that almost literally produced sparks when our hands accidentally touched. It was that fast, that obvious. Or at least we thought it was; Rob soon realized that he should honour a commitment he had made to another woman, a dear friend who had left the country to travel and consider whether marriage to Rob was the right next step.
While he worked that out in his head and his heart, eventually coming to the decision that he needed to do what was right for himself and to believe that he deserved happiness after a 10-year first marriage that had ended in divorce, I held onto hope. I gave him back the engagement ring, sure, but I never gave up the belief that this was the man with whom I would live out my life.
We couldn’t have known in those early, heady days of romance and reconciliation that the strength of our love would be tested in such an enormous way nearly thirty years later. But when our hearts were broken in 2015, we held fast, buoying each other, sinking together and gathering strength to stand up again.
Now, the reward for that resilience is a four-year-old boy that we could not possibly love more than we do. Every week, our spirits are lifted and we laugh constantly when we video chat with sweet Colin as he eats his lunch. He sings and he giggles, he mugs for the camera and laughs at our jokes. A sense of sadness that used to overcome Rob after those chats has been replaced by joy. Colin is a boy who’s full of beans and they are magic ones to be sure: he’s found a way to mend two broken people in a way we could not have envisioned.
So today, our Valentine is this message from the heart: to remind us all that as long as there is love – whether it’s a child, a grandchild, a partner or a parent, a dog or cat or someone you just hold in your heart in the form of a precious memory – then there is life.
My mom used to say, when she gave us advice on choosing a partner, “You can’t live on love.” Some sound prairie wisdom to be sure; love doesn’t pay the bills, but it makes a twin or double bed a lot more comfortable! Indeed, love may not be all you need (sorry, John and Paul) but it’s pretty damned close. And someone to hold your hand and pull you onward when you can’t find your way alone. When you have love, you have the strength to figure out the rest.
I wish you love and loving memories, as well as the hope for love and the blessings it brings.
And I love that you’re here with me each day, willing to share the stories and the ride. Happy Valentine’s Day – whatever it means to you. (And just for fun, here’s the link to my second Walmart article titled Better Ways to Start Your Days.)