heartsValentines day.
       I remember looking with utter envy at my school friends who had received those wonderful, much ached after Valentine Day cards. Oh, how I longed for one!
       As I grew up, I was the sort of girl that never committed herself to a relationship. That was a tie down. It was something that I didn’t want at that point. My career was more important! So I flirted my way through my twenties, never allowing a man to get closer than I wanted him to be. I discovered that as a result, Valentines cards never dropped into my letter box on the 14th of February! I ached at that, but what could I do? It was only after my accident, when I had my first “relationship” with a man that at the age of 45, I received my first Valentines Day card!
       But what actually is Valentines Day? How did it come into being?
       Valentine was a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for helping persecuted Christians. He was interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. I smile at that. Good on ya’ Valentine! Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, apparently he performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer, Asterius. The jailer’s daughter and his forty-four member household (family members and servants) came to believe in Jesus and were baptised.
       On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “valentine” card, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing it “Your Valentine.” Since then “From your Valentine” is an expression we all know!  Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.
       ringValentine supposedly wore a purple amethyst ring, usually worn on the hands of Christian bishops, with an image of Cupid engraved on it. Probably because of the association with Valentine who became a saint, amethyst has become the birthstone of February, and its thought to attract love.
       Ha! was my initial reaction. I wear a beautiful amethyst ring belonging to my great-grandmother, and a fat lot of love that has bought me! And then I stop and re-think that thought. Hold on! I am surrounded by love. So much of it!
       Just because I don’t have a “partner” doesn’t mean to say I’m not loved. Also, where did I get this stupid, misguided thought that Valentines are only to be given to a person that you are in love with. Who said that??? They are meant to be given to show love. Full stop.
       And so, on this Valentines Day I will be giving a Valentine card to the person I love most in this world – my Mother.