Cathryn Vitek   -  

Like many of you, and especially our kids, I’ve been thinking about Valentine’s Day.
From the time we had our first child, Valentine’s dinner was a family time and
usually involved pizza and a heart-shaped rice krispie treat desert, since those
particular food groups were agreed upon favs in our family.
There are not many of these celebrations that I remember in particular …
I simply recall Valentine’s Day celebrations as times when my heart felt so full!

There is one time, though, that sticks out from the rest.
Our oldest was maybe in Kindergarten, which means our youngest was not yet born.
Our middle must have been asleep.
We had celebrated early because my husband had a cross-country flight, and it was
just me and my first-born watching whatever-was-her-favorite-at-the-time movie,
snuggled under a blanket on the couch and eating candy conversation hearts…
a treat for both of us. We finished the bag : )

And then experienced the most extreme regret imaginable that we had.

We were both so, so sick.
I felt like such a horrible mother thinking our illness was quantity related.
Until I heard from my husband
that he had experienced a similarly joyful time in the air.
all. across. the. country.
Only without the conversation hearts part.
More than 25 years later we still don’t have candy hearts in our house.
Not even pictures of them.
My daughter can’t even catch the scent of them without turning green.

We laugh about it now. It is a really great memory that I treasure — not because of
the candy or the bug we had, but because the candy brings to mind that time when
it was just me and my first-born snuggling on the couch, her watching whateverwas-her-favorite-at-the-time movie, and me enjoying just being with her.
Still makes my heart full!

You may be wondering why I bring this up.
Because it feels like these whole last two years have sort of been like that, one
unpleasant surprise after another, scattered with some precious moments that we
might not even see as precious yet. But as we continue to get hopeful news about
vaccines and masks and as the sun continues to increase our daylight minute by
minute and we get one baby step closer to whatever the “new old” looks like,
we are also moving closer to the time when we
— and our kids–
can “remember that time when….”
and, believe it or not,
instead of the anxiousness, apprehension, uncertainty and over-it-ness
we might be feeling in this moment,
the preciousness of those memories will win
and our hearts will be full.