After my mother's knee surgery was over on Thursday afternoon, my father pulled the car around to the front of the doctor's office, driving it up over the curb so that she wouldn't have to step down. "We've never seen a husband do that before," said the nurses.
Then they asked my mother, "Do you have any special plans for Valentine's day?"
"With a husband like this," she said --
On the phone, I cut her off. "You said, 'With a husband like this, every day is Valentine's day,' right?" We were talking on the phone while my father picked up her Vicodin at the pharmacy and their pizza at the Pizza Hut next to the pharmacy. Though she'd only been out of surgery for a little while, she was completely lucid and not at all nauseous, the beneficiary of apparently highly advanced anesthetic technology.
And what's funny is that I know so many perfect things that she could have said to those nurses, and that she has said over the years, that I can't even remember what she told me she did say. In my imagining, she told them that in her love, every day is special; every day is Valentine's day; and she and my father celebrate being each other's Valentine every time they see each other.
I told one of my classes some version of this story on Friday and said, "May you all have such love in your lives." I'll say the same to all of you tonight, too. May we all.