Take a poll among any hundred intellectual elites and they will tell you that sentimentality is a dishonest emotion, totally without merit. Those elites hate any movie where there's a tear shed, when any emotion is honestly voiced...in book, in movie...or in the lyrics of a song.
I disagree. Sentimentality is the art of seeing only what we want to see. And I say "thank God for that". Life is tough enough, humans fallible enough, that we simply must possess the art of forgiving our loved ones' faults if ever love is possible.
So, every year my daughter sends me a wonderfully sentimental birthday card. And she always takes the time to make that card meaningful to me...something that never fails to touch my heart. So does that mean she does not harbor memories of my many failings? Of course not...she is simply saying that I am loved, even admired, despite my failings.
My god, people, you all know I'm something of a "sentimental slut" myself, having written dozens...no, hundreds of blog essays...about every one of my loved ones.....none of them perfect...without fault and failings.
And, as I have grown older, I freely admit to chronic bouts of sentimentality. In a world growing increasingly more savage, when folks are judged these days on the very latest "mal droit" they have mistakenly uttered, I believe we can all use a dose of sentimentality to maintain our sanity.
Though I tend to "mix it up" in my writings on this blog, I can tell you that I literally torment my Facebook friends, almost daily, with a post about feeling euphoric on a particular morning...just because the trees are leafing, or my Lantana is bursting into spectacular color. Or I write about something cute my little dog did this week. And, yes, time and again, I climb into my time machine and write about the wondrous experiences of my childhood.....a period when I was nurtured, tutored on the right way to behave, and loved unconditionally. While much of what I write about is "water under the bridge", those waters are soothing beyond belief...and the bridge always there, over the troubled waters of my life.
I suppose my daughter could send me a tract on "Modern Philosophy". And I'm just intellectual enough to be stimulated by it. But, these days, I prefer a simple and sentimental message that says I mean something to her...assuring me that my life has had some measure of value.
In that little Hallmark missive my daughter sent, she borrowed (or bought) the words that might express to me, what I mean to her. And in conveying those words to me, she is saying that I have served as the foundation for all the love that came later in her life. I feel a little pride in that...the feeling accompanied by a slight trilling of the heart...and admittedly, a tear or two that drops from these old eyes....and I feel not an ounce of guilt for it.
So Happy Birthday to me...on the occasion of my 69th birthday. And, of the 24,000 plus days since I crawled from the womb, it has been the sentimental expressions of love that have kept me living and loving.