Day 45 – Simple Valentine’s gifts

14 02 2010

I headed out in today’s Valentine’s Day snow to find warm sunshine that felt fine for my 7.3-mile run. I remember now that these longer runs at my 10-minute-per-mile pace give me lots of thinking time to lose myself…

I started out in a happy, lovey mood remembering Valentine’s past with my husband and our first Valentine’s Day together. Three weeks after we met in college, he invited me to his fraternity house for dinner on Feb. 14. That awkward holiday when you’ve just met someone that you really like. Did he even know it was Valentine’s Day? Would we just pretend it wasn’t? To my surprise, he had ordered a heart-shaped pizza, rented “The Princess Bride” and gave me a very sweet card. Definitely one of our most romantic evenings. So simple then and the true beginning of our story. And he still – 20 Valentine’s Days later – writes the sweetest cards!

Mid-way through my run I was feeling really good. I must have been thinking about the half-marathon coming up on my birthday – close to three months away – when I remembered that would be the 5-year anniversary of my grandmother’s death. She passed away on my 35th birthday. We were extremely close — and I miss her so much. I think of her all the time, but not specifically on Valentine’s Day.

I realized Valentine’s Day was when I last saw her – exactly five years ago when I gave her that last hug at the airport where we said goodbye. She came from West Virginia for Zach’s first birthday – to make him his first cake as she had for my daughter, my sister and me… Whenever we said goodbye since I was very little, she and I both said, “Don’t forget…” meaning don’t forget that I love you. But in these past five years I did forget on Valentine’s Day. And it’s a nice anniversary I want to remember – her last visit and that last hug to hold onto.

So thinking of her made it hard to breathe and hold back tears. I pushed on through, and a perfect song came on my iPod Shuffle just as I was starting my last mile around the park trail. I never run to this one, because it’s more mellow. My grandmother loved this song, and my uncle (her son) played it at our wedding. It’s a great version I heard on headphones at the Denver Art Museum last year. They have a little spot where you can sit and stare at paintings of Western landscapes and listen to music. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, for remembering my grandmother and for the last mile of a long run. Check out “Simple Gifts” by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss on the Appalachian Journey album on iTunes…and hug the ones you love!




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