Heart rock found on Bishops Beach, Homer, AK.

First day of the month, during Senior Aquacize class at the Bay Club, the instructor, Vision, announced that this is National Women’s Heart Month. She invited us students to participate in the celebration by wearing a tiny red enameled lapel pin shaped like a flirty little dress. A basket of pins, each attached to a sheet of “healthy heart tips,” was sitting on a plastic patio chair just inside the door to the pool.

Vision is laid back, steady. “This class is not enough,” she says. “You need to walk, too.” I listen to her because she doesn’t shout out non-stop instructions and encouragement, which in the confines of an indoor pool can be downright obnoxious. Vision never shouts.

I brought a pin home and read the healthy heart tips.  Believe me, I know about exercise, stress reduction, ideal numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, waist size, weight. I know all about that stuff, even as one day’s ideal isn’t good enough the next because a new research study has been published. Oh, God, yes, I know about all of that.

But, of course, February is National Women’s Heart Month. What woman isn’t thinking about her heart?  You can’t avoid it with Valentine candy, pastries, cards, and balloons heaped into Safeway right after Christmas. And there are bouquets and potted plants ornamented with plastic Valentine gewgaws. And, and . . . if you like chocolate and don’t care that it’s packaged or coated in red or pink, you can get good deals after the fourteenth.

In this month of the heart, I think about how much I love my children, my family, my friends, and all the ones that don’t fit into those categories, but that I still, always love.

And I’m thinking, “Put on your red dress, baby, Lord, we’re goin’ out tonight.”

Copyright 2016. Genie Hambrick.