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Ah, it’s that time of year again.

When every surface of my house is covered with glitter and construction paper remnants.

When there is glue stuck to fingers, clothing and hair. When it takes every iota of willpower that I don’t have not to rip open the packaging of my kiddos sees candy, squirreled away in my closet, and rub my face in the gloriousness that is chocolate.

Spoiler alert…it’s valentines day.

Before my marriage one thousand years ago, I never had a valentine. True story. I was that girl. Binging on lifetime movies and chocolate and pining away for the day that I would finally have someone to shop for in the overpriced card aisle.

And now that I do…eh. I could honestly take it or leave it. Valentines day is for kids. It’s over hyped and just too much for anyone over sixteen.

But this morning may have put some color into my cold black heart.

I was grocery shopping before work, patiently waiting for an older gentleman to choose a steak, so I could swoop in and grab mine, when he became aware of my presence. He turned to me and did a little bow, apologizing for being immobilized for a beat too long.

He said, “You’re a woman, so you probably know exactly what you want. I’m just an old man, and these things take time.”

I laughed and agreed that I happened to know this store better than I cared to admit, but that I absolutely had no idea what I wanted…just ask my husband.

He smiled and started to tell me about his wife.  She was a gourmet cook. She had more cookbooks than he knew what to do with. And when they’d go grocery shopping, she had practically mapped the store. They’d never go down the same aisle twice, and she was always able to find exactly what she needed.

He told me that they’d been married for forty years, and that they had been the best years of his life.

And then he killed me, right there in the meat department of Trader Joes.

He said, “I’m eighty, and my wife has been gone for twenty years. So now I wander grocery stores and get in peoples way. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m grateful for the time I had with her.”

And then he smiled, told me to have a good day, and walked away.

Ohmygod, I die. It’s no secret that I have a special place in my heart for grandpas. I want to adopt them all and go sit in a diner with them, listening to stories.

This one, however, was one I wasn’t prepared for. Watching him walk out of that store, it took everything I had not to tackle him in a giant, smooshy hug, and ask him to pretty please, with a cherry on top, be my valentine.

I’m kind of kicking myself for my restraint.



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