Annie Wiltse is a contributor on Tiny Twig!
It was my second year of college and we were grocery shopping.
My parents didn’t raise us on sweets. Growing up, we were only allowed to have pop once a week – and that was after we asked permission. My mom didn’t keep candy in the house and one year threatened to make me eat enough chocolate to make me throw up, in hopes it would, like it had her when she was a child, cure me of my sweet tooth.
(I’m sitting here eating a bag of Skittles so we all know that didn’t happen.)
So I didn’t think, when I asked for that one box of candy hearts a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, that Dad would say yes.
But he did.
I am not a mushy person. I don’t like The Notebook. Gifts are not my love language. Valentine’s Day makes me want to break out in hives.
But I love that little box of candy hearts.
That small box reinforced a truth of which I need to be reminded often: that my dad sees me. That a lot of times, he made decisions I didn’t like (and since I now live back at home, still does), but on that day, I was his daughter and he saw that.
The next year he bought me a package containing six boxes of candy hearts, a sticky note bearing the words “Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Dad” lying on top, left unobtrusively next to my purse. I found it the morning after he’d come to visit, and when I called to thank him, he told me he’d forgotten all about the box from last year but had heard me talking about it, and thought if it made that much of an impression, he would do it again.
And I was seen, again.
It’s February, and it’s hard, especially this month, to feel seen, to feel loved. But we are. As small a part as we play in this grand story, we are seen and loved. And I’d like to challenge us to open our eyes to the little ways our friends and family show us that.
I know, this year, for me, one of those ways will be another little box of candy hearts.
What little things makes you feel seen? What gestures remind you how desperately you’re loved?