When was the last time you paid it forward?
I mean, really paid it forward to an unsuspecting stranger or service organization in need of a little love. The winter holiday season has come and gone, but it’s not too late to spread love around in your community, even if that means celebrating a commercial holiday like Valentine’s Day.
Cheesy or not, I’m a fan of Feb. 14. It’s a day set aside for showing love. My heart melts around this time every year. I love looking at mushy photos or reading about grand gestures of love, so instead of watching other people enjoy the holiday this year, I put on a smile, powdered my nose and gave away 100 roses to senior living communities in Belleville.
I love roses. They smell like the first day of spring: light, fresh and clean.
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I even named my daughter, Lillian Rose, with the intention of giving her a lovely bouquet every year on her birthday. She’s a jewel, and so are the seniors at St. Paul’s Senior Community, Westfield Manor and The Atrium of Belleville.
I’ll never forget my afternoon with them. Cheryl, Ollie, Pat and Peggy were especially friendly when I arrived the day before Valentine’s Day. We shared laughs, sipped sparkling grape juice and admired each other’s nail polish.
The afternoon was perfect.
We didn’t spend much time together, but I managed to squeeze some “love advice” out of them before I headed home to my daughter Lily Rose.
Their advice was unexpectedly identical: “take care of yourself.” It quickly became clear that “loving yourself” had become a priority for them in their golden years.
Ollie Mosely, a Westfield Manor resident, said it best.
“Young girls, my advice to you is to love yourself first,” she said. “Before you try to find love, love yourself and in that you’ll find true love.”
I couldn’t agree more with Ms. Mosely. Thanks for that lovely piece of advice, and I hope you enjoyed the roses.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
A note to readers: Cara Anthony is a reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. In an occasional column, she will discuss life as a first time mom, millennial drama and servitude in the metro-east.