Last year, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, we Harpies had ourselves a seminar on the pressures (and occasional pleasures) of the holiday. If you want to revisit that, you can read it here, but this year, we’re taking a slightly different perspective, and using it as a jumping off point for talking about something thematically related, but a bit more encompassing.
Since there’s no question that love (meaning affection, kindness, fellow-feeling, whatever) makes this world a better place, we’d like this week’s FFT to be a place where everyone–regardless of your gender, sexual preference, or your romantic status–can reflect a little and share a story about words and deeds that made someone feel very loved and valued.
It doesn’t have to be a something that happened on Valentine’s Day, or even a strictly “romantic” gesture (and dear heavenly harpy, please, no ring-in-the-dessert cliches), but any gesture of love–from a family member, from a friend, from a total stranger–that you’ve been the recipient of, or that you have graced someone else with.
I am fortunate enough that I can think of half a dozen off the top of my head, but one I’ll share was something my mom did for me that I still can’t quite believe.
I was a scholarship kid, which was good, since I had to put myself through college, and money was always tight. When we went out for dinner after my graduation, I thought that was pretty special (especially since it was the the first time either of my parents met the Dude). But after I schlepped my stuff back to my mom’s house for the summer, I found a big wrapped box on the dining room table. Inside were ten one hundred dollar bills, which is more money than I’d ever had in my hands. It wasn’t for school in the fall, or for anything practical or Mom-approved. It was for me to enjoy. Imagine that: money only for enjoyment.
I used it to go to Chicago, to go to New Orleans with the Dude, to go sky-diving with friends. I used it to basically have a little bit of a bacchanal before heading off to grad school. Money isn’t love–I’d already learned that lesson–but after a lot of financial hardship, that gift was an unmitigated blessing. It’s hard to think about what she must have gone without to gather that all together, and I still get a little sloppy, remembering it.