A quick knock at the door. The knock of a child.
I'm expecting two of mine home any minute with their dad, and sometimes they knock just for fun. I open the door. It's the neighbor boy from across the street. A sweetheart of a kid, five years old with light brown hair and adorable glasses. He holds out something to me. "This is for Ella," he says.
"Thank you," I say fervently, taking from him a little valentine wrapped around a package of candy. Yes, fervently. I am unbelievably grateful that this little boy would deliver a small note to my daughter.
Ah, my daughter. Blue-eyed child somehow born into a stormy sea. The second I saw this child I was overwhelmed with love for her, and this memory comes back to me on hard days. She can be, for lack of a better word, my most difficult. Her basic temperament and her sensitivity clash inside her, and some days are magic but others are...well, difficult.
She is second child, second daughter and all-consumed with her place in this world. When her older sister comes home with more valentine's candy, oh! her heart is broken. Somewhere inside her small self there must be a voice that tells her if only she were different, older, oldest, better, she would get more candy, too. She doesn't have enough experience with the world to understand that the candy you get has to do with the size of your class, and pre-school is smaller than first grade.
Oh, it's the normal jealousy of candy, too. Sibling rivalry is sometimes just that simple, without all of the psycho-analysis heaped upon it by a mother at the end of her wits. How to say "You are simply amazing!!! Who cares if you didn't get that extra lollypop!" My love just isn't quite enough today. And that makes me sigh.
And so this little valentine delivered in such an unassuming manner sits here on my desk, waiting for my girls to come home. Waiting, ready to greet my second daughter, who will be happy, who will hopefully feel a little bit more of how she is sweet and special. A Valentine that will say "Oh you wonderful girl. Here is the extra candy, love and friendship that your mother so wanted you to have. Something she didn't have the power to give you herself."