You know... the cynical part of me has really disliked this holiday. It seemed contrived and utterly lonely, especially for those who are "unwanted, unloved and alone".
However, today I remembered what it felt like to be a little kid on Valentine's Day. All the little heart shaped cards we would exchange w/ our classmates and our family. The candy hearts and chocolate kisses. The excitement when we got a special heart from a "crush". It was the promise of a day where expressing love was encouraged & celebrated, not scoffed at or made fun of.
I remembered too that when I was young, this day was MY day with my dad. No other dates were allowed. It was OUR day. We'd would go out to dinner, just the two of us. I looked forward to it all year - especially since our relationship has often been combative and contentious.
It was the one day we could hang out, enjoy a meal, talk about whatever (politics, dogs, the weather, crossword puzzles, school, etc.). It was lovely & it was loving. Which is what Valentine's Day should be, and it's what a relationship between Father and Daughter should be.
How ironic then that today, this rainy and gloomy V-Day for 2008, I should be moving my father to a Board & Care facility. I can't take care of him anymore, not by myself. Nor do I want to. It's been stressful and overwhelming and I don't like the angry person I'm becoming. I don't like how I am acting toward my daughter either (this isn't her fault). It's hard enough as it is to take care of her all by myself, but for the past 11 months I've really had TWO children (three if you count the dumb Pomeranian*).
Dad needs more care and attention than I can give without help. My daughter deserves a calm, loving, attentive mother.
I know this is the most loving thing I can do for him. I know that my obligations as a daughter only go as far as me making sure he is okay, safe, warm and taken care... it is NOT however my obligation to personally provide those things.
Even so, it's hard to make the decision.
When we placed my mother into full time care, she wasn't lucid and couldn't "protest". Though it took some time for her to acclimate to her new surroundings, she never gave us a hard time about moving her.
I know Dad will be okay no matter what. So will Dexy & I.
Really, this is only scary for me because I have defined myself as a "caretaker" for over a decade. My role as such is about to change forever. I actually have to consider the possibility that there are other, more important (and more LOVING) ways to define myself. I have to step outside of my "sphere of availability", my comfort zone, the proverbial box I've put myself in and try something completely different.
What I know about doing things different is that my life will get different. There may be some discomfort in that, but I've also learned that change is never a bad thing. Never.
For today, as scary as the impending change may seem, I'm also okay with it. There is no going backwards... only forward. Into the warm sun, a new path, a new experience, a new me.
Happy Valentines Day. To my dad of course. As well to my beautiful baby girl, my BF and to all my friends whom I love and cherish. No more will I think of this day as a contrived farce. It is what I make it. I choose to make it about LOVE. So, bring on the flowers, the cards, the chocolate, the sappy sentiments. It's all good. I welcome it and fully embrace the Girly-ness in me that loves to get a beautiful bouquet of tulips or wildflowers - or a card that simply says, "I love you."
*See Numero Uno for more about the Pomeranian (aka Evil Toto).