Well, it's that time of year again, when Valentine's candy lines the store shelves. And my favorite one is these: Yes, the small Brachs conversation hearts. You know the ones. Colored sugar formed into tiny little hearts, each one boasting a loving statement to share with your sweetheart.
When I see them back in the store, I always throw a bag into my cart. Because I like them, yes... but also because one of my favorite memories of my mom involves these bags of sugary goodness.
My mom LOVED her candy hearts. She would buy bags and bags of both the small and large conversation hearts every year around Valentine's day. She'd put a few out for our family to enjoy... but as for the rest...
She would hoard them.
And hide them in the cabinets.
And eat them all year long.
It was always funny to me to see her snacking on them in April... in August... in October.
Her secret candy stash was almost entirely made up of Valentine's hearts! (and Easter Peeps... but that's another blog entry!)
About 7 years after she passed away, when my dad was getting remarried, it was time to sell the house I had grown up in. Steve and I were helping my dad pack up the kitchen. We reached deep into a cabinet full of pots and pans... and came out with an unopened bag of small Brachs conversation hearts.
No, we didn't eat them! I didn't keep them either. But it brought back so many happy memories of my mom, just the woman she was, and it made me remember her... and smile.
This year, we made our own memories with candy hearts. We counted out 100 conversation hearts for Nathan to bring on his 100th day of school. I told him about Grandma Mary, and how she loved these hearts and ate them all year round. I told him about the bag of hearts we found when we helped Papa pack up the house. And after we had talked about hearts and counted hearts... we ate some together.
Just like mom used to do.