- Maggie Wallem Rowe
Why Would Mom Have Saved All Those Childhood Valentines?
[Total aside: I did my second annual Polar Plunge this past weekend! It was a costumed fundraiser for a local children's educational program. If you could use a laugh today, photos are at the end! ]
When my mom passed away at nearly 95, she had downsized three times – from our Illinois farm to a large home in town, from that home to a two-bedroom condominium apartment near us in Wheaton, and then from Wheaton to the mountains of North Carolina where she shared Peace Ridge with us for all-too-short a time.
Always practical, Mom had already sorted, sold, and given away most of her possessions, saving only her clothing and a few personal things. Yet among the boxes she left behind, we discovered a treasure trove of vintage Valentines dating from 1905-1935 that had been given to my grandmother, aunt, and mother when they were little girls.
Some are endearingly silly:
“To My Valentine: I’ve got my eye on you, OH, Gee!
Your heart’s the PARKING PLACE FOR ME!”
Others are sporty:
“I’ve won the game in par, my dear,
T’was really quite a feat;
Now if you’ll be my Valentine,
My victory is complete.”
Still others are sweetly sentimental:
“Maybe you remember
Maybe you forget
Maybe you’ll be wondering
Why I’m thinking yet
‘Cause the round earth over
‘Cause the wide world through
Never could discover
Anyone like you.”
Why did Mom save these little endearments from her childhood?
What is it about a simple sentiment that makes us feel seen, known, remembered?
On this February 14, I’m thinking especially of those of you who might be alone today.
Once there may have been a special someone who brought you flowers and a card or took you out for a celebratory meal, but those days are past. Knowing there are women in my Tuesday Bible study who are single, widowed, or divorced, I’m making chocolate chip meringue cookies for the group today to ensure they are remembered.
I wish I could make this day special for each of you, too, but thankfully I know Someone who already has.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 NLT
My friend Judy Douglass, newly widowed, reflected on that Scripture recently. This is Judy's first Valentine’s Day without her beloved husband Steve, the late president of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru).
“That is Jesus speaking,” writes Judy. “We are to love like Jesus loves. So, more than Valentine’s cards, kind words, even loving actions? How is that possible?
“God has made a way. I call it Flow-Through Love:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7)
“Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
“Our God understands our limitations. But He lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and His love has been generously given to us. Then we are to become channels for that love to flow through us to others—those we love, neighbors, even strangers and enemies.”
Dear friend, if you are feeling sad, left out, or unseen today, please know that I see you.
God sees you.
And you are dearly, eternally loved.
- Maggie Wallem Rowe, 2023
Maggie Wallem Rowe writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the mountains of western North Carolina. She is the author of This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, and Life is Sweet, Y'all: Wit and Wisdom with a Side of Sass.