As a single woman this year, I dreaded Valentine’s Day. There is no potential man in the picture, and the one I care for has fled the scene. I knew Valentine’s would remind me of how I would not be getting a call, text, or flowers from him.
So instead of staying home and being sad and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to create a different kind of Valentine’s Day celebration. I asked four women over for dinner. I bought beautiful tangerine colored roses and arranged them on my cozy round table with complementing dishes, wine glasses and linens.
The night before I whipped up the classical dish of chocolate mousse ladling its airy contents into hyacinth colored glass-blown goblets. The menu was Chicken Picatta in lemon sauce with capers, aspargus spears, salad and pasta.
I invited three women who I have known for a while and a new one I recently began to work for. I enjoy bringing new people into the mix instead of always inviting people who know each other. It enlivens and adds depth to the experience.
I live in a 450 square foot garage apartment, so entertaining for 5 people is fun, but a bit challenging. It matters less to me and the more people I could possibly have over the better.
While I had been cooking each person was spending the time learning about the others. My group of friends are awesome because they open their arms wide and welcome new people.
Everyone has an interesting story or occurrence that has happened to them. As we sat down to enjoy the meal, I prayed a prayer for them all. I have two stone carved hearts that fit in the palm of your hand. I keep them on my table as reminders of the love I am waiting for in the form of a future partner.
This night, I decided to use them in the form of a sharing activity. The smaller heart of the two I gave to the person on my right and asked if she would share how in some small way she expressed love to another person. People sometimes feel uncomfortable being on the spot to share, but she and the others willingly went along with my game. It was wonderful to hear about the small acts of kindness each woman had performed. Women for the most part are really nurturing beings. Wendy talked about giving up her place in line to a young woman and her baby at an important event. Kathy talked about her trip to Haiti two years ago and helping build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Ginny tells us of her passion for the elderly and for animals. When she is shopping at the grocery store and is either entering or exiting the store, she helps the elderly load their groceries and returns the cart for them. Radhia is a Clinical Nutritionist and her job everyday involves helping people return to a state of health.
When the stone heart circled back to me, I told of how I simply was there for a woman who was in a bad relationship and needed someone to listen to her and recognize she wasn’t crazy or bad.
I then took the larger stone heart and gave it to the woman on my left, asking her and the group to tell of how they have given love to themselves and/or how they could give love to themselves. Again beautiful answers arrived in the form a woman new to meditation and feeling for the first time the great swooping down kind of love she felt from within and beyond herself to another woman who loves caring for cats and finds great comfort in stroking them and caring for them.
Before me that evening were beautiful women with hearts full of journeys that made them wise, rich and amazing in their own way. Can you imagine a better conversation for Valentine’s Day then what was being shared around this dinner table?
There were celebrations as well. We opened our second bottle of wine and cheered on Kathy who is leaving in two weeks (I will miss her greatly) to visit for three months in Swaziland ,located in Southern East Africa. She is an Interior Designer and is going there to work with an organization of women artisan’s who primarily create baskets to sustain their families. Her hopes are to help design a new line to improve sales.
Radhia won a contest and acquired a large Nutrition book she had been eyeing at work. Little did she know that on page 34 of the book, the author used and credited Radhia for a line she uses in all of her teaching curriculum. There was her name on the side column of the book and we all were clapping our hands at the great surprise.
As we whisked the dinner plates away and made room for dessert- those lovely large goblets with decadant chocolate mousse and a dollop of whipping cream, we dipped our spoons in and savored the richness of the dark chocolate.
It was time now for a little levity and fun. I brought out another Valentine game. It is box with 14 descriptions of what a lover could be: Intelligent, Unskilled, World Traveler, Good Cook, Poet, and the list goes on. It is a 1″ box covered with hard plastic and there is a picture of a woman who looks like a female version of a grown up cupid. The title across it is- Who Will Be My Next Lover? You hold the box steady in your hands while three little metal balls float across the surface finding the magical holes next to each description. When the balls have landed in the spots you tell the group what kind of lover you will be with! We laughed at our combinations of Clothes Horse, Idiot-Savant, and Wanderer! It was like a version of grown up a Ouiji board.
At the end of our celebration, none of us felt left out or ignored on this holiday. What many people don’t know is that Valentine’s Day was not created by Hallmark to sell card and candy, but was created in honor of a Saint that was imprisoned for performing marriages to soldiers who were forbiddent to marry and ministered to the Christian martyrs of the early Roman Empire.
You may wonder what my reply was for how I give love to myself. It happens that by creating a delicious dinner for Valentine’s Day for four women who need to be appreciated and loved is what I gave myself. In return, I was given back four-fold. I had bought flowers for myself and was given chocolates by two of the women.
Next year, I plan to be with the man who I call “Mr. Spectacular” for now. I look forward to experiencing love and its many forms with him on the Red-Heart Day. But my Valentine’s Dinner last night will be hard to beat!