The first man to ever give me flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day was my father. I remember waking up on Valentine’s Day morning and running down the hall to find a giant heart filled with Russell Stover candy for my mom and two little hearts of candy, one for my brother and one for me. We would anxiously tear open the red cellophane covering the box of sweets and could look, but not eat any until we got home from school. No sweets before lunch was a rule in our house.
As I grew older, my dad would still get me little candy hearts and sometimes flowers and stuffed animals, especially when I was not dating anyone on Valentine’s Day, which was most of them (the little bear in the picture above is from my dad!). Looking back, my dad was being really sweet and possibly trying to fill the void of my not having a Valentine to share the day with. I spent most of my Valentine’s Days with my friends, getting dressed up in red or pink (to keep up with the colors of the holiday) and enjoying a night of dinner, drinks and dancing. One year, we decided to go to Atlantic City to celebrate. Now THAT was good time!!
One year, however, I was feeling slightly depressed about not having a special someone to enjoy Valentine’s Day with. Plus, I was craving chocolate and realized that if I wanted any, I would have to buy it myself. Damn! As I walked around CVS, I picked up a magazine that had an article in it on what single people should do on Valentine’s Day. The author said to write a list of people and things that you love. Seemed easy enough so I went home, opened my bag of peanut M & Ms, and wrote one. And it actually did make me feel better. I found that list the other day and realized that most of the things on it are the same today as they were 11 years ago (except for a few, mainly #s 1 and 2). I guess that means that the things on my list are lasting loves.
I decided to write a list this year and although it was tough, I narrowed it down to 10 people/things I love. Here it goes…
1. My husband – The man of my dreams and more. (Yes, I am going to get mushy!) He is the most kind-hearted, helpful, hard-working, funny, loving, considerate, patient, romantic, compassionate and honest man I know. He makes me want to be a better person and no one had ever done that before. I fall in love with him all over each and every day. He is an amazing husband, son, son-in-law, nephew, friend and human being. He is my best friend and someone I can always count on to make me laugh or smile each and every day. He was totally worth the wait and ladies, he never made me cry. Ever.
2. My Families – I absolutely love and adore my families – my American one (the one I was born into) and my Italian one (the one I married into). I truly enjoy the people in both of my families and enjoy spending time with them. I am so grateful to have each and every one of them in my life.
3. My Friends – I am extremely blessed to have old and new friends who are always there for me. We have great times together and they are a wonderful support system. I like to laugh and have fun and so do they! And we always do!
4. Dogs – Cute, fluffy, loyal and playful. They bring nothing but joy to others and are wonderful pets, especially Westies!
5. The Ocean – Especially the Pacific and especially in Hawaii, though I also hold the Jersey Shore near and dear to my heart, especially Point Pleasant, Wildwood and Cape May. Going to the beach brings back so many wonderful memories from childhood to adulthood (is that a word?). There is nothing like the sound of the ocean, the movement of the waves and the smell of the sea. It calms me. It makes me take deep breaths and realize what a beautiful world we live in.
6. Food and Wine (or other adult libation) – Really good food and really good wine bring pleasure to my taste buds and my tummy. YUM!
7. Elvis – I love his voice, his music, the way he talked, his philosophies and how he was polite and respectful to everyone he met. I also respect him for serving in the US Army, unlike so many other artists and future politicians who bought or connived their way out of military service. I also think his musical range will never be matched. Ever.
8. Nature – The sights and smells of fall, a beautiful sunset, snow glistening on the mountains, animals scurrying around in their natural habitats. All of these things make me feel peaceful and realize how small we are in comparison to the massive world we live in.
9. Music – I wish I could make music or even sing well, but listening to music has always been part of my life. I can honestly say that I listen to music almost every day. It lifts me up, motivates me when I exercise, and can bring out emotions in me like nothing else. Music can make me smile, laugh, cry, gasp and dance like a wild woman. I love it.
10. Dancing – Not ballet or ballroom or tap or jazz. Or even for regular exercise. I am talking about dancing with my friends and husband. At a bar. At weddings. In clubs. I love it. Thankfully, my husband likes to dance and is a good dancer, because when I get a few beverages in me, I do not want to stop and sometimes I cannot stop dancing when my favorite songs are played. Good times…
There you have it. My list of loves. After writing this list, I realized (again) how fortunate I am to have so many people and things to love, not just on February 14th, but all throughout the year.