My Valentine

Before I tell you all about my Valentine, here’s a bit of sweetness to herald the day. Bernie gave me a book with even more adorable cartoons than these:


If I were a tattoo-getting kind of girl, it would absolutely be “hair without do.” Better than buttercreams or diamonds is this little book of funny drawings, and lovelier than roses or candlelight dinners is a Bernie who knows how much I’d adore them. But here’s another Valentine’s Day Story, which begins (like too many of my evenings) with Prosecco-infused internet trolling.

A few months ago, I entered a silly, online contest to win a serious bag. Fashion Moi Moi is a fun website that instructs women with overstuffed closets how to repurpose their cast offs– and to cast off the things that you should have never bought on purpose. (It sort of reminds me of that time Ginny, the coolest girl in high school, turned a giant sweatshirt upside down and rocked her own Hammer Pants.) Occasionally, Fashion Moi Moi awards faithful readers with fantastically free stuff, and when this orange bag appeared, I knew I could do better than the “me likey!” comments in the contest thread. So after a glass (or five) of bubbly, I wrote something about how a bag this beautiful really belonged on the brave, if not lymph-edematous, arm of a bald lady. Maybe it was heartfelt, or even witty, but the intent of my comment was a desire to pay the purse forward.

A few weeks later, I learned that my Cancer-y comments earned me a Michael Kors large enough to hold five small dogs. But ever since I pulled it from the foam peanuts, I’ve been staring at it with a wigless conscience. I told April that I really wanted to give it to someone more deserving, someone who would appreciate the joy of a giant orange purse, someone I love. We didn’t discuss long. Of course: Maria! Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria! (Say it loud, and there’s music playing!)

Some of you know all about Maria (I compare her to a vacuum cleaner over here). Last year, many doctors in and out of the operating room agreed to join Team B(ritt) Cup despite the inherent awkwardness of it all, but I’m pretty sure no one gave Maria a choice about being my Nurse. In fact, knowing the enormity of Maria’s talent and heart, I was encouraged by all of my caregivers to lean on her when things got shaky. So in addition to hand-holding The Boss’s Wife last year, Maria continued doing all sorts of above-and-beyond things that keep her from sleeping in on Saturdays, or turning off her phone. Last year, Maria earned a Patient Education Award for Excellence and never once cried in front of me… placing her in the top 2% of clinical nurses, and top 0.0002% of Italians.

And then, amidst achievements and accolades, Maria turned some of that life-affirming love and you-can-do-this support toward herself. With willpower, dogged determination, and a gym membership, Maria lost over 60 pounds. Seriously. Just look at her all fabulous and flirty:

Maria then... and now

Maria then… and now

Always gorgeous, Maria now channels this:

Maria is totally skinny Adele.

Google “skinny Adele”… and you get Maria.

And so, this year Maria is My Valentine and I hope that she is accepts this pretty purse with all the grateful appreciation I have for her talent and beauty (even though a teeny part of me wonders if internet-contest spoils are a tad re-gifty). I’m hoping she carries it with all the love and gratitude of hundreds of patients she keeps in her heart and phone. I hope she carries it knowing I won it for her.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


For you, sweet girl. Delivery included.

For you, sweet girl. Delivery included.