Sarafina Design

Subtle humor. Simple design.

Susanna Hill's Valentiny Contest

Susanna Hill is at it once again with her 3rd Annual Valentiny Contest!

I participated in her Halloween contest last year, with some silly rhyming stories. For this contest, I've set the rhyme and silliness aside. My grandmother is 93, and lives in a nursing home on the other side of the country. She was diagnosed with dementia about 5 years ago. I am always filled with joy because she remembers who I am. I don't know if she is given a reminder before our video chats, but I want to believe she remembers me all on her own. I use "grandpa" in the story just to give myself a little distance from the emotion.

The rules for this contest include: A story for children 12 and under. 214 words or less. Include something about being hopeful. Be a Valentine story.

Good luck to everyone! More stories can be read on the official website: Valentiny Contest!





Grandpa used to give me roses on Valentine’s Day. Pink roses with the thorns sliced off. I’d unwrap the crinkling cellophane and Momma would trim the stems. For days they’d be on display, the crystal vase casting rainbows around my room.

I’m not getting roses from Grandpa this year. One morning he came home from a walk in a police car. Momma spoke with our family, a hushed voice in a distant room. Standing in the hall, I heard something about “disoriented” and “forgetful”. Would he forget me too?  

Weeks have passed since he left. His chair sits pushed in. The crystal vase is still tucked away. 

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but I pretend it isn’t. Passing Grandpa’s room in the morning, I slow down, listening. I hear only Momma humming in the kitchen.

Heart shaped pancakes cool on my plate. I trace their outline in syrup. The moat flows in sticky sweetness, but I don’t want to taste them yet. I am lonely.

But if I’m lonely, how must my Grandpa feel? Out comes the markers and stickers, out comes the glitter, the pipe cleaners, and glue. A Valentine for Grandpa. But when I place it in our mailbox, there is a card waiting with familiar handwriting…and a package of rosebush seeds inside.