The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I am to have always felt loved, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of my life. I have been blessed with many things in my life, but by far, the greatest blessings I have received are the people God has put in my life.
My first valentine was my dad. He always made the day special by getting me a box of Russel Stover candy – the one with the deep red cellophane on top. I remember it having dark chocolate, milk chocolate and one piece each of a pink and yellow chocolate. I loved each and every one and loved my dad for making the day special! My brother later played a role and would give me stickers for my sticker collection or a small box of chocolates. I remember one year when I was in my 20s, I had just broken up with someone and my dad and brother sent me flowers at work. I broke down in tears and still have the card they sent. It meant so much and cheered me up right away!
In elementary school, my classmates were my valentines. We gave each other valentines to put in our decorated paper lunch bags. I fondly remember giving and receiving Scooby Doo valentines along with the The Flinstones, Barbie, Transformers and Strawberry Shortcake! Yes, I am dating myself! I don’t have many memories of Valentine’s Day in middle school, other than one boy giving me a flower, but he was not my boyfriend. In high school, I only had a boyfriend my junior and senior years and remember getting pink and red carnations at lunch in the cafeteria. Such a romantic place to get a gift! HA!!
My mom was my valentine a few years as well. I remember one year, I was dating some yahoo who did not get me a gift for Valentine’s Day. She felt badly for me so she bought me a beautiful silver locket with a rose engraved on it. It meant so much to me and still does to this day.
For a few years, my students and niece and nephew were my valentines. They would give me valentines and little boxes of chocolate. It was so sweet for the kids to think of me. Even if I was feeling lonely, their heartfelt cards and gifts always warmed my heart and made me smile.
For over a decade, my girlfriends were my valentines since we were all single! There were a few years where one or two of us had dates, but for many years, it was just “the girls.” And that never stopped us from having a great time! We would go dinner or to our favorite martini bar or wherever we wanted. I remember one year, we all met at one of our favorite bars and every single one of us wore red. The bartender referred to us as “the girls in red” all night. Hey, it helped us get free drinks! One of the best times was the year we went to Atlantic City to celebrate. Our usual night of drinking, dancing, and gambling made it one of the best times! So. Much. Fun!!
When I was 34, I met my ultimate valentine, my husband! Though I didn’t know it at the time, the day we met was the day my life would change forever. Since that date, almost 10 years ago, I met the man with whom I would spend the rest of my days. I could not have imagined that one person could bring so much joy, happiness and love into my life. He is an amazing husband and person and I love him with all my heart and soul!
Today is a day about love. But really, every day should be! There is love all around us but sometimes, I think we forget how much we are loved by our parents, siblings, children, friends, and significant others. I hope each of you feels love today and every day and have a wonderful year filled with happiness, laughter and smiles!