Change of heart
Valentine's Day is a big deal in our family. It's my husband's holiday, and my two children and I can count on him to do something loving and funny and hopefully outrageous. My anticipation starts by Groundhog Day, but he usually comes up with his ideas after dinner on February 13.
His antics over the years have been inventive. We like to reminisce about the year he covered our kitchen from floor to ceiling with hundreds of heart-shaped Post-its, each one handwritten with the kind of sappy message that usually comes on a candy heart. The Post-its stayed up for months, falling off gradually as the glue wore off. Then there was the year he painted big red hearts on the kitchen floor. Last year, dressed in a few frilly ribbons, he leaped naked onto the bed like Cupid. It was hysterical.
Although this past weekend was way too early for him to be doing anything Valentine related, I couldn't help noticing the gigantic plywood heart he had made for me a few years ago had been dragged out from under a pile of stuff in the garage. Next to it was a paper bag from Shirley's filled with several cans of spray paint. This was not the usual slap-dash approach with the secrecy that makes it fun. Worse yet, he enlisted our daughter, Lila, to paint the sign with him. Something was terribly wrong.
And here it is: I'm not my husband's Valentine this year. The heart, repainted to go on top of my husband's truck, is for Barack Obama. Our whole family is caught up in the excitement and possibility of this presidency. During the campaign my husband made hundreds of phone calls and canvassed in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Our son, who had been politically apathetic, attended Obama rallies at his college. Our daughter, able to vote for her first time, proudly cast her vote for Obama. We watched the inauguration together, elated by the change Obama represents, and shared the hope and excitement expressed by the millions of well-wishers of every background and color on the Washington Mall. That night we danced our hearts out to Johnny Hoy at the Inaugural Ball at the Chilmark Community Center. How can I be jealous? Is there a better Valentine than our new president? I don't think so. Happy Valentine's Day.
Laura Wainwright is a freelance writer living in West Tisbury.