While Dan rested over the weekend, Raine and I finally checked out the Peoria Riverfront Museum with our friends John, Kate, Marlena, and Penelope. It was a beautiful day so we also spent time playing at the park by the Riverplex, where there is a super cool zip line. Watching Raine and Marlena interact is such a joy. They play well together and I have waited so long to enjoy seeing Raine play with my best friends’ children.
Saturday night I was at the Peoria Symphony Orchestra’s concert Romance, with an after party in the lobby with a 10 piece swing band, dancing, and champagne until midnight (at least, for me). For locals, mark your calendar next Valentine’s Day for this event. It was so much fun!
On Valentine’s Day, Dan surprised me by bringing me coffee at work. He also brought me two plants for my desk, and surprised me with another plant at home that evening. I maybe haven’t mentioned this since we moved? I am a freaky plant lady now. Where there was 1, there are now 17. And so far, I am keeping them all alive. I’m like a plant whisperer and I had no idea!
Valentine’s Day for Raine was very cute to watch. He decorated a used shipping box for his valentine mailbox at school. He also hand wrote every student’s name and signed his name to every valentine card. I was proud of his hard work and that he didn’t give up! He worked on a few every day for a week.
I did my best to spoil my boys with Valentine’s Day baskets full of their favorite treats. Dan surprised me by dedicating a song to me on Facebook. “She” by Elvis Costello, one of his favorites. It made him cry when he heard it recently. I cried, too.
All week I was reminded of our wedding vow renewal ceremony two years ago. If you had told me then that we would still be celebrating Valentine’s Day together in two years, I would have cried. I also would have been skeptical that I could persist over the next two years and have the strength to get through everything as well as still be …. the enduring love and inspiration in Dan’s life.
The time stretched out ahead of me on Valentine’s Day in 2015 was trembling with uncertainty. I was training myself to embody We Only Have Today. We Only Have Today. It was terrifying, humbling, and life-changing.
This remains true. Every day. We are never guaranteed more than the moment we have. This is a piercing lesson after sudden loss, as I now grieve for my mother, as well as an unsteady path to have walked since an antagonist like cancer entered our story line. I am still learning the steps and the pace. I don’t expect to ever have it figured out. I just do my best.
I hope we all can. I also hope we can all extend some grace and love to one another as we try. Happy belated Valentine’s Day.