2018-02-14 / Columns

Delivering the right message to the many Valentines in my life

SALLY’S WORLD
SALLY FRIEDMAN

As that old song goes, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…”

Might I add... now, more than ever!

And I suggest that love comes in all forms and is directed to so many. In this Valentine’s season, I’m hoping to deliver the right message to the right people.

Bear with me while I try…

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A Valentine to my daughters:

Hey you guys…Even though you drove me crazy and tested me in ways I didn’t even know existed—even though you forced me into conversations about everything from why grass grows to where G-d lives to how to talk to (gulp) boys, and I seldom got the answers right—you always came back for more.

You anointed me with the title I cherish most in the world. Mothering you has been the hardest and most important work of my life.

I know I sometimes nag you and offer my entirely unsolicited comments on your lives even though you’re all grown up.

But I hope you also know that you have made me laugh when the world makes me cry, and that knowing you and loving you has been one of the wonders of the world.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jill, Amy and Nancy.

How did I ever live without you?

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A Valentine to my sister:

Ruthie, Ruthie, Ruthie.

We spar. We argue. We clash and collide.

We are opposites. But also soulmates. And no, that’s not a contradiction.

Nobody else knows me the way you do. And from the very beginning, when I arrived and displaced you as the only little queen of the household. Sorry you had only two years to be an “only.”

But oh, the laughs we share…and the memories.

What a blessing and bond is the gift of sisterhood.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the one person in my life with whom I shared parents…and childhood…and now and forever sisterhood.

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A Valentine to my grandchildren:

How did we ever get so lucky? How did grandpa and I manage to find ourselves with seven of you, the spectacular bonus of this stage of life, the dessert, and the cherry on the sundae?

Hannah and Sam, our “seniors,” taught us first and forever what it meant to be called grandparents. Jonah and Zay, the “middle guys,” reminded us that grandparenthood never, ever grows stale, that each beloved new being finds that special place in the heart of a grandma and grandpa. And then the “smalls,” Danny, Emily and Carly, melted our hearts and stole them like the tiny bandits they used to be. Not so tiny now, but still heart-stealing bandits.

Our forever Valentines, the Magnificent Seven, give new meaning to the word “love.” We would walk through fire for each of you.

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A Valentine to my women friends:

You have stood by through it all—the bouts of the blues, the diets, the doubts, the giddy times, the shared confidences. We have talked about everything from books we loved to movies we hated to our hair, the state of the world, our gripes, our gratitude and whether to buy the dress with the plunging neckline after all…

You have loved me when I felt unlovable, bolstered me when I felt overwhelmed, and shared life’s magnificent and mundane moments with me. I don’t tell you nearly often enough how grateful I am that you’re there for me. But I hope you know it anyway.

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A Valentine to my husband Victor:

You came into my life on an October night a lifetime ago, and I think I knew from the moment I saw you that we would marry. I loved your face, your wonderful auburn hair, your earnestness and oh my, your humor. You made me laugh on our first date, and you haven’t stopped since.

After the hearts-on-fire stage of romance, we melded into something better, richer, deeper. We brought babies into the world, and we were amazed by them. We stood by their cribs, some nights, and almost wept at their purity.

We built a life together before we ever realized it. You taught me that I could actually balance love and work, and when I was positive I couldn’t, you were there to say, “Yes you can.”

Then in a flash, the kids were gone, and it was just the two of us again. And in another flash, we were welcoming grandchildren together. Impossible. Unbelievable. Marvelous…

We know what those younger-than-springtime/stars-in-their-eyes couples don’t: That love is hard and demanding and difficult and frustrating and even infuriating, sometimes. That it truly does mean in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.

But every moment that has mattered in the last 57 years has been with you. Your small graces sweeten my life every day. And even though we sometimes drive each other crazy, we also drive each other…happy.

Thank you, dearest Valentine, for being my homeland. 

pinegander@aol.com

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