Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My First Valentine

Every Valentine's Day I have a special memory of my father. I don't have that many special memories of him and maybe that is why this one sticks with me. It's not that he was a bad man, just a sick man. Plagued with mental illness, life with him was never easy. As a child, I walked on egg shells not to disturb him or set him off. Holidays were bad for us, at least the big ones. I hardly remember a Christmas that he didn't sink into depression or start some crap about nothing. The same with Thanksgiving and even our birthdays. But I won’t go into all that , I survived and there are kids that go through a lot worse in life than just having ruined holidays.

Ironically every Valentine's Day, without fail, he came home with two hearts of chocolate. One was big and red and was my mother's. The other one was a little smaller and pink and was for me. I saved every box long after the candy was gone. Those boxes are gone now. When my parents divorced, my mother and I had to leave in the night and didn't get to take much with us. But sometimes I wish I'd thought to take at least one of those boxes them with me. It would be perhaps physical proof that at least one day out of the year he fought off the darkness in his life and could show his love to me.

Happy Valentine's Day Daddy, wherever your spirit is. I know you really loved me and I loved you even when it was hard. You were my first Valentine and you are always in my heart.

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