Then. 

Growing up in my house, Valentine’s Day usually meant baskets lined up against every wall in our living room. My father, after retiring as a chemist, established a business that provided baskets and pottery for various florists across  town. He loved his baskets. There were many times, early in the morning or late at night, he’d disappear into the garage and survey his wicker or rattan or twine baskets and make certain they were appropriate for delivery to his vendors for the upcoming weeks. Filling out invoices by hand, he sometimes recruited help from my mother, sister or me. During the latter years after his illness progressed, he managed to fill a few orders and talk to some of his regular clients about their basket needs. After my father passed, my husband and I loaded his inventory of baskets and returned them to his supplier.

Now. 

My daughter’s feet pounce on the carpet without reservation. It is the morning of Valentine’s Day and she slips over and gives me a kiss on my cheek. I am a half-asleep, but I hear the words, “You are my Valentine, Momma.” She’s made a heart card that she places on my nightstand. It has words like, BFF’s, I love you, and various colored crayon hearts scattered on the white surface. As she gives me a hug, I say, “I love you.”

Those three words are a staple in our home. I say those words to my daughter regularly. Most conversations with my husband also end with love you’s exchanged. I am not afraid to say I love you to my friends.

Everyday.

The last three words I said to my father were “I love you.” There is nothing commercial about telling people you love them. And it does not need a holiday. We can’t say it enough.

This is what a set of baskets have taught me.

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