I handed Father the handmade valentine with a shy smile.
“For you!” I smiled bigger, revealing two gaping holes. My two front teeth had earned me two dollars a piece.
Father looked down at the construction paper heart and read it aloud. “To the best Daddy in the world! Will you marry me? I love you! Love, Addy.” Father took me in his arms and gave me a big squeeze.
“Well? Will you?” I had already asked him several times, and always got the same reply.
“I’m already married, honey. You can only have one wife, and even if I wasn’t married I couldn’t marry my own daughter!” Father consoled.
“Well, maybe someday I’ll find a man like you.” I could only imagine how hard it would be to find someone as handsome, funny, kind, and caring as my Daddy.
“Did you know that two women can marry each other?” I asked, still trying to wrap my brain around the idea.
“Well, it is not legal actually.” He probably wondered how I knew about homosexuality.
“Well, I saw it on TV. They were both wearing wedding dresses.” I thought about it and wondered why in the world two women would want to get married. How would they decide who got to have the baby?
“What a lovely valentine!” Mama came in and sat on the edge of the chair. “Did you make that for your Daddy?”
I smiled proudly. It was covered in glitter, markers, and stickers. “I did!”
“She was just telling me about a wedding with two brides.” Father explained, giving Mama a look that said I knew too much. Way more than other little girls my age.
Mama’s eyes grew big. “What?”
“They were having a wedding on the news, Mama.” I explained.
“Oh honey, you probably saw a double wedding. Sometimes sisters or best friends get married on the same day. There are two brides and two grooms…” Mama carefully explained.
“Oh,” I thought about it for a minute and it made sense. They were probably sisters. They both had brown hair. “Well, I still wish Daddy wasn’t married.”
Mama laughed and gave him a peck on the head. “He’s taken, sugar. Someday you’ll find Prince Charming!”
“I hope so.”
“Who was it that Anna wants to marry? The one from Turner and Hooch?” Father asked.
“Tom Hanks!” Mama laughed. “When I was a little girl I wanted to marry James Dean, and he turned out to be….” her voice trailed off.
Father cleared his throat and they both laughed.
“Is Maria making spaghetti for dinner like I asked?” I had just seen Lady and the Tramp and thought it was a very appropriate meal for February 14th.
“She is!” Mama smiled and handed Father the valentine.
“Good!” I slid out of Father’s lap and headed into the kitchen to bother Maria for awhile. If I was lucky, she would let me lick the spoon after she frosted the cupcakes that I talked her into making. Maybe Mama was right, maybe someday I would find a man like Daddy.
"Are you married?" Maria was stirring the sauce as is began to boil.
"Why don't you ever bring him over for supper? I bet he gets hungry!" I had never thought to ask Maria about her family at home.
"Your Mama let me take him leftovers. I see him on weekends." Maria went home around nine o'clock every night and was back by six o'clock. "He work in Tennesee." She struggled to get the word Tennesee out, and I laughed.
"Oh," I nodded, my mind shifting back to the cupcake icing that was on the counter. "Can I lick the spoon?"
"Not yet." Maria slid the bowl to the center of the island, beyond my reach.
"Have you ever seen Lady and the Tramp?" I asked, eyeing the noodles.
"Did you like it?" I inquired.
"I think so. I was just a little girl." Maria handed me a spoonful of steaming sauce to taste. "You like?"
"Go tell your family that supper is ready." Maria pulled the breadsticks from the oven and arranged them on a serving platter.
I ran out of the kitchen and did as I was told, hoping she would save me a spoon of icing.