Sunday, 14 February 2021 14:20

LETTER: A mother's very special Valentine's Day gift

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I am a complete romantic and because of this, Valentine's Day has always created an aura of love and warmth to my mind and spirit.

I have always treasured valentines made and given to me by my four children, and I have stored these special valentines carefully away so that I can get them out at some later time when I need a touch of love.

These needs of love came frequently for me, a single parent with four active young children.

In fact, it seemed as though I had to give out so much love and attention, there was little time left over for myself.

I worried that there wasn't enough love to go around to each of the children. And, there was never enough money.

It seemed impossible to keep jeans on the three pairs of growing boy's legs. There were forever holes in the knees of the always inches-too-short jeans of each little boy as he went to school. Worn jeans were in style, but "high-waters" were definitely not.

Every school day each child was given lunch money — 25 cents — but there was no extra money for ice cream or drinks sold at school.

A week before Valentine's Day several years ago, Chris, who was in the sixth grade at the time, seemed hungrier than usual when he came home from school.

If I could just keep peanut butter and grape jelly in the house, he never said, "There's nothing to eat." During this particular week, he would come home from school and eat two or three sandwiches. It was easy to see that he had not eaten lunch.

He finally admitted that he had not eaten lunch at school for several days. I then learned that there was a very large box of valentines candy, which the school was selling chances in for a quarter each and Chris was using his lunch money each day to buy a chance on the candy.

I did not say much, but I knew the "she" he was trying to get the candy for must be a very special girlfriend.

I knew that food was important to a 12 year old child, but I also knew that he would survive as it was only a few more days until Feb. 14.

In my mind, I felt Chris' chances of winning were slim. When the day finally came for the drawing, he seemed confident and happy. How I hoped he would not be disappointed, that he would have a his chance to make some little girl very happy.

That afternoon, when it was time for the children to come home from school, I looked out the window and saw a group of boys coming across the vacant lot, Chris in front and clutching the biggest, red heart-shaped box of candy I had ever seen.

I went to the back door to meet them and Chris came up the steps, held out the box of candy, and said, "Here Mother, this is for you." His twinkling bright eyes seem to have an extra sparkle that day and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was that I was the "special girl" in my son's life that day.

As I looked around at the other boys, I realized they were as excited about the candy as Chris and I were. They had become so interested in his plight to give his mother a special surprise that they had been donating their lunch money to try and help him win.

This was one day there was no doubt that there was plenty of love to go around.

This happened 10years ago. Most of those precious little friends of Chris's are graduating from college this year. 

My own darling, Chris was killed in a automobile accident two years ago, but the long-ago-emptied red candy box is still on my closet shelf. And when I need to feel a little touch of love, I take it off the shelf and remember the day long ago when a little boy and his friends gave all they had to make me feel like a very special lady.

It seems that I can still feel the warmth of his love and see the twinkle in his eyes.

Peggy Odom Kellar