|I could only grab a picture of one of these beautiful birds- and it is not the best photo, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most special photographs I was ever able to capture.|
When my Dad was a little boy, he made the mistake of fiddling with a blue jays eggs while they were in the nest and mama bird seemed to be nowhere around. Well, little did he know, she was very close by, and she chased him across the big backyard and pecked him so hard in the noggin, that he learned a painful lesson that day. He would tell this story to my sister and I many times, and even though I knew it must have been very scary for little dad- I couldn't help cracking up and the scene of it all! Of course how could I not think of dad whenever I see a blue jay? And, it isn't all that often we see them here in NYC- so I know what happened back on Valentines day 2009 was more than a coincidence.
My dad has always been my number one Valentine. No matter what, he was always there with a card, a box of candy and one of his strong-hold-on-with-your-whole-heart hugs. I remember one valentines day after I had been married, I didn't get a chance to see him for lunch that day because work was just too hectic. I couldn't leave my desk. I was crushed. He surprised me at the train station with his tokens of love and a big old hug and made it all better. My number one guy.
So, in 2009, dad had been gone for 4 years now. And no matter what people say, time does not heal a broken heart. You just learn to live with the pain- and the happy memories come to surface to help balance out the hurt. But, they make the missing that much more vivid. The good times were wonderful- but remembering them also shouts that they are a season passed. That Valentines day, my boys and husband showered me with lots of love- handmade hearts and lace trimmed cards, boxes of chocolates, hugs and kisses. And though I loved it all- I had such a hole in my heart that year. Maybe the finality of his passing set in. I don't know. Here I was, surrounded by so much love, but I felt so alone. I missed my Daddy.
I was looking out my backyard window feeling this way, and through teary eyes, I saw a flash of blue. I followed it- scanning the sky overhead, and it was gone. Before i could turn away, I heard the unmistakable call of a blue jay It was on my deck- looking right into my window. Then two more joined him. The three birds sat still, looking right into my window and a cardinal joined them. Silence. And just then, they flew about the deck, in a playful circle for a full minute- and were gone. It's never happened again- but I know why in happened then. In my heart I believe, I know, that this was a gift from my dad. One blue jay for each my mom, sister and myself- and the beautiful red cardinal was his Valentine.
He's never forgotten to send me one- I just keep my eyes, my faith and my heart open, and each year, he finds a way to make it a little better for this girl of his.
Happy Valentines day Dad.
I love you.