With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I would pass along a heartwarming story about the spirit of love and giving written by Ruth McDonald entitled, “The Valentine.”
He was a shy little boy, not very popular with the other children in Grade One. As Valentine’s Day approached, his mother was delighted when he asked her one evening to sit down and write the names of all the children in his class so that he could make a Valentine for each. Slowly he remembered each name aloud, and his mother recorded them on a piece of paper. He worried endlessly for fear he would forget someone.
Armed with a book of Valentines to cut out, with scissors and crayons and paste, he plodded his conscientious way down the list. When each one was finished, his mother printed the name on a piece of paper and watched him laboriously copy it. As the pile of finished Valentines grew, so did his satisfaction.
About this time, his mother began to worry whether the other children would make Valentines for him. He hurried home so fast each afternoon to get on with this task, that it seemed likely the other children playing along the street would forget his existence altogether. How absolutely horrible if he went to the party armed with 37 tokens of love — and no one had remembered him! She wondered if there was some way she could sneak a few Valentines among those he was making so that he would be sure of receiving at least a few. But he watched his hoard so jealously, and counted them ever so lovingly, that there was no chance to slip in an extra. She assumed the mother’s most normal role of patient waiting.
The day of the Valentine box finally arrived, and she watched him trudge of the snowy street, a box of heart-shaped cookies in one hand, a shopping bag clutched in the other with 37 neat tokens of his labor. She watched him with a burning heart. “Please, God, she prayed, let him get at-least a few!”
All afternoon her hands were busy here and there, but her heart was at the school. At half past three, she took her knitting and sat with studied coincidence in a chair that gave her a full view of the street.
Finally, he appeared alone. Her heart sank. Up the street he came, turning every once in a while to back up a few steps into the wind. She strained her eyes to see his face. At that distance it was just a rosy blur.
It was not until he turned in at the walk that she saw it — the one lone Valentine clutched in his little red mitt. Only one. After all his work. And from the teacher probably. The knitting blurred before her eyes. If only you could stand before your child and life! She laid down her work and walked to meet him at the door.
“What rosy cheeks!” she said. “Here let me untie your scarf. Were the cookies good?”
He turned toward her a face shining with happiness and complete fulfillment. “Do you know what?” he said.” I didn’t forget a one. Not a single one.