Damaged Heart: "It ain't the years, it's the mileage."

Some days I think my heart -- that is my metaphorical heart, not the organ pumping blood in my chest -- is held together with safety pins and duct tape.

Not that I don't feel very fortunate as well. I wouldn't trade the heartache or emotional scars for anything. The same events that had me cringing in a corner (literally) or beating my chest (figuratively) also delivered two beautiful children and built lasting relationships with my family and friends.

I'm all for celebrating love, but Valentine's Day can be an emotional minefield. Romance is tricky at the best of times and February 14th heaps expectation on top of it.  It has left me feeling torn about the whole affair.

I like the hearts and flowers. I also hate the hearts and flowers and constant reminder that my entire romantic history has thumbed its nose at "happily ever after". I never got sent roses until I told a friend I had never been sent roses. (Now he makes sure I get a virtual rose every Valentine's Day.)

My daughter was conceived on Valentine's Day -- the same day my Nana died. I didn't hear about it until the day after because we disconnected the phone. (Oops!) That kind of thing leaves you with mixed feelings.

Did you ever see Will and Grace -- the episode with the flashback to when Will comes out in the middle of almost having sex with Grace? That happened to me. I really wanted to be angry and kick his sorry butt. Then he started crying and I got all motherly and sucked up my own feelings of rejection and frustration.

The most romantic day of my life happened in the summer at camp. It was a combined Scouting/Guiding Camp for teens. I met this Ranger at the opening ceremonies, but he couldn't stay because he was working that weekend. He came back for the dance Saturday night. He walked across the crowded room, straight for me. We danced, walked and talked all evening. Then I never saw him again.

Then there were the men who neglected to tell me they were married...

Soap operas and romance novels have nothing on life.

So, one way or another, my heart has been drop-kicked, fallen from great heights, pummeled, and (metaphorically speaking of course) dragged behind trucks over rough roads. So, if I feel a bit jaded this Valentine's it's not because I'm getting old.

"It ain't the years, it's the mileage."