This morning I awoke with a million thoughts. I'd spent those moments before waking in a lovely dream of many relatives who are now moved on to the next life. In the dream, I was surrounded by mountains of photographs of the times we spent during our lives. There were pictures of me as an infant and growing up that I'd never seen before. There was a photo which was a number of good sized stones, placed in the formation of a heart with an arrow running through it. I was told by my aunt, in my dream, that it was my father who had placed the rocks, as a romantic gesture for my mother.
Awaking, I realized that I'd never seen any of the photos in my dream because they didn't exist in reality. Even the story of my father's creative endeavor wasn't true. But my mind was set in motion, and I began to think of the things my father had done to show his love for his wife and others.
I don't honestly remember Daddy being much of a romantic, though it was a fact that he was a loving husband, father and man. We all take it for granted that a man will work to provide for his family, but is that not a true act of love? We expect it, of course, but the man has a will of his own to reject that responsibility. My father did not do that. He worked full time, came home for supper, and then went out to work a part-time job as well. There was not necessarily a need for him to work more than his 40 hour a week job, but he and my mother were not living in the moment. They looked ahead and planned for it. Because Dad had provided the way he did, and because they were good stewards of what they had, they were able to build a small house which would provide a rental income. One thing built on another, and over the years, they owned a few small houses which made the nest egg grow. When my father passed away at the early age of 61 years old, my mother had no financial worries. They'd lived simply and never beyond their means. There was no debt, but there remained a steady income.
I think it is a wonderful thing when a man shows his love in such a way that is often over-looked. I enjoy it,too, when those little romantic gestures that we so often don't expect, come along. One of my favorite remembrances is a Christmas when Dad presented Mom with a simple but very special gift. It was a small, wooden 'puff' heart which he had whittled from a bit of wood in his basement shop. She proudly wears it quite often, and I'm always so pleased to see it. I think of him with his tools, standing at his workbench, forming a symbol of his love for my mother. What makes it even more special is that the first one he was making was somehow lost, and he had to work faster to get the second effort finished by Christmas! I covet that heart, and am certain it will be mine one day, but for now, I am happy to see it lying close to my mother's own heart.
There was many a heart-shaped box, covered with lace and bows or flowers, for my mother on Valentine's Day. There were love letters when my parents were apart for a short time due to a job decision. There were beautiful garments given as birthday and Christmas gifts. But, what I've come to know in all these years I've experienced, it isn't anything material that matters. It is truly the thought behind the giving. Anyone can give a gift out of obligation, but it is the giving of self that is the real show of love. Daddy did that, every single day that I knew him, and even beyond that. My mother, at the age of 83, still lives a simple, yet comfortable life, with want of nothing, because of his fore-thought and his love. There's nothing better than that.