Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid I remember well the excitement of receiving all those Valentine cards from my fellow friends and classmates. It was so much fun to sort through each card, picking out the ones I liked the best, and reading the one’s from my best friends.
February 11, 2009 I was scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy, the final step in my fight with breast cancer. I had already been through the chemotherapy and I was grateful that it would all be over soon. My children were five and eight at the time.
In preparation I pre-wrote their school Valentines and left them with my husband. I was determined to not to let my surgery affect their ability to participate in a holiday about which I had fond memories of my own. They had been through enough already.
The surgery went well except for the day following I could barely speak let alone lift my head up. I ended up needing a blood transfusion on February 12. Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday which meant that the school celebration was on Friday February 13.
Hours after the transfusion, I finally began to feel alive again. At around 9pm about an hour after I had sent my husband and parents home, I suddenly remembered I had to remind my husband about the Valentines’ cards . I knew my amazing man had been through so much over the last few days waiting and watching, that the last thing on his mind were school Valentine’s .
I frantically called my husband’s cell phone, no answer, I tried our home phone, no answer, they were still on their way back to the house. I called my parent’s cell phone and thankfully my mother answered. My voice sounded so anxious and urgent, her initial response was concern and worry. “Tell Bill to remember the Valentine’s I ranted, the school Valentine’s.” It took a moment for my shocked mother to understand what I was talking about. You see only an hour before when she left the hospital I was still so tired and unable to really communicate.
When I was released from the hospital several days later, my ultimate joy came when I finally saw my kids. Together we went through all the school Valentine’s they had received. We picked out our favorites. My 8 year old detailed who had given the best cards and candy. I smiled, relieved that my children’s innocence and a little forethought on my part had allowed them to experience the simple joy of Valentine’s Day at school. My own heart was bursting with joy, a reminder that so often it is the little things that matter most in life.
More from GalTime:
- 5 Steps to Fulfill Your Man's Fantasies on Valentine's Day
- How to Write a Love Letter
- Romantic Couple Getaways!
- DIY Gifts for Valentine's Day
Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy. D. is currently a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit in a private psychiatric hospital. She is an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pace University and maintains a private outpatient practice. Jennifer enjoys interior design, reading, baking and playing with her 95lb black Labrador Retriever.
She and her professional partner, Barbara R. Greenberg, Ph.D., met over a decade ago during an interview for a clinical position. That first introduction resulted in a meeting of the minds. What started as a professional relationship has bloomed into a strong friendship and has served as an even greater support network for each other’s triumphs and challenges.
"From early on in our respective careers we have perceived ourselves as students of adolescent language and behavior. We have listened and learned from the finest of teachers…the hundreds of teens and parents who continue to touch our lives daily."