The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

February 11, 2014

Who do you love this Valentine's Day?

ENID, Okla. — It is almost Valentine’s Day. Who do you love? Think about it.

Remember when we were kids in grade school and we got valentine cards from every kid in school (there were no more than 25 or so kids in all eight grades). We also gave to every kid in school. We gave to everyone or no one. We left no one out. That way there were no hurt feelings.

Most of the valentine cards didn’t really express any love or sentiment or feelings, certainly nothing “mushy.” They were about baseball (You made a hit with me) or some such verse that didn’t say anything, really. But we loved to get those valentines.

We spent the biggest part of a day making boxes to receive our cards. We made them out of shoe boxes or about that size and covered them with construction paper and doilies and ribbons and hearts and bits and scraps of various things. We cut slits in the top large enough for the cards to go through. The boxes really turned out pretty.

When the day came, we deposited our valentine cards in everyone’s boxes that were placed on their desks. Then in the afternoon, we had cookies (always in the shape of hearts) or messy cupcakes and Kool-Aid (always red) and had a party and opened all valentine cards. We thought those parties were wonderful. They were, but they didn’t express much love ... just friendships.

I still like to get and give valentine cards. Every year that we have been married, Jim has given me a special card. He carefully selects it to say just what he wants to express. I look forward to those cards with my early morning coffee each Valentine’s Day. I have kept them all.

We will get other cards too. I know we will receive one from our daughter and son-in-law. She has never forgotten, so now we almost expect it. Probably, we will receive cards of love from sweet little grandchildren, nieces, nephews, special friends, siblings and others. They will all be appreciated and will express a special kind of feelings.

Isn’t our capacity to love amazing? When we had our first granddaughter, Jamie, I just adored her. I doted on her. My life changed forever. I loved her with all my heart. She was (and is) everything a granddaughter should be.

I thought life could not get any better. Then we learned we had another grandchild on the way. I worried that I would not be able to love another one like I did Jamie. When I saw our Shelby, I realized my fears were needless. I loved her just as much as the first one, only in a different way. No matter how many children or grandchildren one has, they are all loved the most, but for different things. One’s heart just makes room for more love.

I have told you that our family is growing by leaps and bounds as Jamie is marrying a lovely man who has three children, ages 16, 11 and 6. Again, my life will never be the same. We could not love those grandchildren more than we already do. They have brought so much love and happiness into our lives.

We also have the capacity to love brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and other family members. We love them all, but not in the same way. We do have favorites, but usually because we have more in common with a special one than the others. That does not mean we love anyone more, or less.   

I am the middle child of seven children. Each of us was appreciated and adored and we all knew it. We were all treated the same, only different ... if that makes sense. Our parents and grandparents never compared us to another child. No matter what our talents were, or our grades were, or how efficient our work ethic was, we all knew we were loved just the way we were.

When we meet the person we are to marry, we love them more than our hearts can hold. But that does not take away the love we have for others in our family. All loves are distinct.     

I have never understood jealousy because all loves are different. Jealousy comes from within a person and is a type of insecurity, and has little to do with what the other person does or does not do. There is no place in my world for jealousy. There are so many people to love and so much love to give, and all of it is in a different way. It does not bother me at all when Jim gives hugs to the ladies in our Sunday school class or elsewhere. Many of those ladies never get a hug from anyone.

Somewhere along in my life, I remember this little poem. I have no idea who wrote it.

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