February brings so many different emotions as I reminisce over past years. As a child, the love of Valentine's Day was never lost on me. See I had an amazing dad that knew how to make his girls feel so special on this day. It was just one of the many days that I looked forward to each year. My dad always acted as though he forgot a special day was coming up. We would walk through the stores and it was as though he didn't see all the big red hearts and shiny balloons that were plastered in every corner, the flowers that we strolled by didn't exist (as if you could miss the beautiful floral scent that accosted our senses) and the chocolate.... what chocolates? As a little girl, I learned very quickly to play my dad's game. If I asked about any of those things I saw in the store, he would only up his "I forgot" act. If I browsed nonchalant, occasionally I could catch him sneaking a peek at the very things I hoped I could get. He still wouldn't let on, but at least he increased my hope and anticipation of the very special day. I have to admit that marketing worked well on me starting at a very young age. Eventually February 14th would roll around and I would go to sleep the night before not knowing what to expect the next day. I would wake up and sometimes I would find a box of chocolates at the foot of my bed. Sometimes I would have to race downstairs to find the balloon bouquet that I had admired at the store in front of my dad. Other times I would wake up and think that my dad forgot because I could find a single thing in the house, only to find when I would leave for school that my special gift was hanging outside on the door handle waiting for me. These are just a few of the special moments my dad created. These were moments that I would choose to continue when I had children. These moments had my heart.
When we had our first born Aspen, these moments were just one of the future hopes and dreams I had for her life. I imagined her waking up in our home and racing around with excitement attempting to find her valentine that she knew would be in the house somewhere. Her not knowing what to expect but only knew that her parents loved her so much that it was a sure thing there would be something. It's a scene that I had played in my head before I had even met my husband and far before I knew I would be blessed with a little girl.
It was also one of the very moments that I would never get to experience with Aspen as she passed away just one month shy of her first birthday. It's something that has played in my head for the last fourteen Valentines Days. As I think about the upcoming Valentine's Day I can't help but wonder if she were still here, would our gift not be the only she got? Would she now have the interest of a boy? Would we be teaching her, as a teenager, what to look for in her future partner? Would she remember all the previous Valentine's Days and think "I want to find someone who thinks it's important to make me feel special, just like my daddy has all these years?"
Just because we lost our sweet girl in 2003 doesn't mean that all her future anniversaries and milestones don't cross our mind. She is still very much a part of our lives and alters decisions that we make to this very day. It's so very important to those who have lost a loved one to remember them. To say their name out loud and in front of people. Trust me when I say we have not forgot about them and it means the world when others remember as well.
So this Valentine's Day I encourage you to send some hearts this month. Go to your parent who has lost a spouse and celebrate that person. Go to your friend who has lost a child or a sibling with a special memento in their name. Go to your friend that is grieving the loss of a special person and show them you remember and care. Spread the love this month, remember those that are important to your loved ones and send some HEARTS TO HEAVEN.