My mother used to like to kid with me and tell me that Valentine’s Day 1965 was the worst Valentine’s Day of her life.
Mom was heavily pregnant with me, her fifth child. She had horrible lower back pain. Her ankles were swollen. She had constant heartburn. She hadn’t slept well in weeks. I was digging into her ribs and not particularly in any rush to make an appearance since I was several days late already.
Mom said having a baby at age 37 was a lot different from when she had my oldest brother, Chuck, at age 24.
February in New England is not a barrel of fun for most people, either, quite honestly. It is usually bitterly cold, with grey skies and very snowy. On that Valentine’s Days in 1965, there was no exception. The average temperature for the day barely reached 21 degrees. The sky was overcast. A light dusting of snow was expected to fall overnight on top of several inches that already existed.
It was also a Sunday. Mom lumbered to church in the morning with my four older siblings who were ages 13, 12, 10 and 6. Dad wasn’t a church go-er, so she had to wrangle them all by herself.
After church, Mom came home and made Sunday dinner, which always took place at 1pm on Sundays. Sharp. It was most likely a baked chicken or a pot roast that she served. That was our traditional Sunday dinner. Later on at night, the family would have to fend for themselves for an evening meal. The big meal had already happened. Mom wasn’t going to cook again. It was leftovers or peanut butter sandwiches, or sometimes Dad would go out and bring home McDonalds. But that was a rare treat.
And this Sunday was no different just because it was Valentine’s Day. Mom remembers this Valentine’s over any others because she was completely over this whole being pregnant thing. Dad wasn’t exactly a romantic kind of guy anyhow, but I don’t think Valentine’s Day was that big a deal for either one of them. Mom said he probably gave her a card and some candy, but she honestly doesn’t remember. She just remembered how uncomfortable she was being pregnant and wished I would just be born already.
I didn’t make Mom wait too much longer. The next day, February 15, was a bright, sunny Monday. There was a beautiful blanket of light snow covering the ground. The temperature was a balmy 35 degrees outside. Mom called Dad at work to tell him to come home because it was time to get to the hospital. She called the neighbors across the street to watch my siblings when they got home from school.
And I made my debut at 8:59pm that evening. Not quite a Valentine baby, but at least I gave mom a Valentine’s Day to remember that year in 1965.