(by which I mean
you father of me with the eyes that never stop laughing and the wisest of listening ears and most capable of building hands; you mother of me with the indefatigable ability to piece and plan carefully for us all and to laugh all the while; you brother of me with the nonstop vision and the never-expected quip; you cheerfully deafest of beautiful mutts;
you owners of dogs and creators of the finest food I eat and makers of my second home, permitters of my canine-visiting trespass; you happy lover of a deserved conservator; you constant cultivator of all that is calm and simple in me; you crafter of color; you utterly constant facilitator of all my work life;
you red-headed fellow-explorer; you brown-headed fellow romantic, heart-broken by youthful arrogance; you timid-headed brilliant confusion of expectation and want; you curly-headed maddening wreck of my decade; you greying-headed superman hottness, hiply shod happy surprise of my season;
you elfin-faced maker of more love than I knew could be there, sufferer from exhaustion it pains me not to lift; you curly-haired secret brooder and planner; you perpetually outraged sensibility, sharer of so much; you coiner of best appellations (and that's craaazy!); you boundlessly generous watcher and commentator (hooray that you're coming closer); you best dancing partner of mine; you most serene of long-distance Batwives, you wackiest of long-distance Mr. Husbands, you happy reunion in pineapple wallpaper; you model for me in writing and in love; you powerful Latina, still questing; you oldest, most neglected friend; you buyer of Beetles, wicked of wit, cheeriest of countenance;
you epistolary friends, pieced together from words and pictures and quirks, unexpected gifts of my year;
you parts of me, majestic or miniscule, year in and year out; you shards I haven't picked up yet on beaches I won't find until later; you stones I have not turned over) --
I lost my belief in Hallmark days right about the time I lost all my other doctrines; the heart-shaped box of chocolates (with helpful answer key) this year went to the kids battling against the frat boys in the basement in order to talk about Dickens, orphans, and lawsuits into last night's late hours. But I'd get teary doing karaoke to Bette Midler for all y'all today, if you were here.
I can't pretend to give you my heart, because you are my heart; the love I can send is no more than the sum of the love I've been sent. May you see at least one truly lovely thing today, and see it without irony or embarrassment or fear of seeming schlocky if you tell yourself its audacious beauty. And may you not feel lonely, now or ever; know that you are, for your various reasons and in your various ways and to your various degrees, loved.
source for today's image: The Royal Academy of Arts Magazine. The other contender for today's image: Jim Dine's "Rancho Woodcut Heart," over at MOMA; it actually was today's image throughout the afternoon.