Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Special Valentine

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Skipper’s deep, guttural bark, Scruffy’s excited yapping, and three geese honking–triggering the disappearance of the three preschoolers out the door, alerted me to the time. Licking my fingers, and wiping my hands on my apron, I hustled the cake into the cupboard, and the dishes into the sink.

“I wonder if Dean will keep our secret,” I said to myself as I rinsed the evidence off the dishes. But I hadn’t long to wonder as the children burst through the door, dropping their lunch kits onto the counter, all trying to talk at once.

“I didn’t tell, Mommy.” I heard the piercing announcement through the din of eight other youthful voices. I smiled at the four-year-old, and stood watching the excitement of the children.

“I got twenty-eight valentines!” piped six-year-old Dennis. To him Valentine’s Day was a new experience. Clutching them all in his hand at once, he came toward me.

“I got thirty,” announced eight-year-old Dale.

“Look!” I cut in, “Let’s all get changed out of our school clothes; and then we can share the valentines. In fact, let’s save them ’til after supper. I have a surprise for you.”

“Mommy–made–cake,” piped up three-year-old Dougie. But his announcement fell on deaf ears as the excited children scrambled to change their clothes.

It was then I noticed our other eight-year-old, David, standing still by the door, clutching a Valentine–a favorite, I presumed. His usually smiling, moon-shaped face had a peculiar look on it, but before I could question him, he walked by me to his bedroom. I didn’t think any more about it, until suppertime. I handed the children bags to put their Valentines in.

As the children gathered at the table for the evening meal, the excited pitch of their voices had risen to a crescendo.

With the meal cleared away, we gathered around the dining room table for the promised surprise–a Valentine party. The children clutched their treasured bags in their hands and assumed their usual mealtime places. I brought out some candy and set the large heart-shaped cake in the middle of the table.

It was time for us all to share the Valentines the kiddies had gotten from their friends at school. They pulled the cards from their bags and set them on the table in front of them. It was then I noticed that David had only ONE card in front of him. My heart nearly broke, but now was not the time for questioning. That could come later.

When it was David’s turn to share his Valentine, that strange look reappeared on his face. He turned the card over, and his usual smile returned to his face as he read, “To David, My Special Valentine. From your Teacher, Miss Waters.” The card was not anything out of the ordinary, just one of the run-of-the-mill valentine cards, but to David it was Special. After he read it he hugged it to his heart. It was the ONLY ONE he had received.

There was nothing wrong with David. That’s not why he didn’t have friends, nor why he didn’t receive any Valentines. His peers did not shun him because he was a troublemaker, nor because he was extra stupid or extra smart. It was not because of any obnoxious behavior. No. It was just because he was a pureblood Native Indian. Our children were foster children, of mixed-blood Native Indian. All but David. He was a pure Tsimshian Native from the Indian reservation in Atlin, British Columbia.

My heart was breaking just now, breaking for a sweet little boy who was shunned by his peers because he was different. I went over beside him, looked at his Valentine, and said, “Oh David, that is SO special. Let’s put it on the fridge so that we can look at it every day, for as long as you want.”

I decided that the best thing to do was to make a big thing out of what he HAD, rather than showing him pity because of how much less he had than the others. And the three little ones saved the day. In unison they said, “Let’s have the cake now.”

Relieved that the crisis was over, I gave David a big hug, and told him that he could pass out the Valentines we all had made for each other. And David was equal again. He was amongst his friends and his family, where there was no prejudice, just a lot of love.

( This story happened in the sixties.)

Helen Dowd enjoys spending time at her computer, alongside her husband of  53 years, writing poetry, story poems, stories about pets and life in general, as well as inspirational and Bible stories. Her writings can be found on her website:

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