over the years

As this "day of love" approached, I was thinking about how Valentine's Day has changed for me over the years.

In elementary school I remember getting very excited about creating a box. It meant digging through a corner cabinet full of old buttons and ribbons, and figuring out a creative and unique way to make a box that stood out from the rest. It also meant sorting through cards and making sure I didn't give an embarrassing one to any of the boys, and saving the biggest and best ones for my friends and teacher. It meant getting jacked up on sweets by the end of the day and eating cupcakes and drinking red punch until my teeth screamed for a reprieve from the sugar.

In high school it meant lining up a babysitting job to make a little extra cash as parents of children everywhere wanted a little alone time with their Valentine. It meant a reminder that I was single, but still getting a card or flowers from my parents, which always made me feel special and loved just the same.

My senior year it meant a surprise song from a special boy, written just for me, and the beginning of a love story that is still unfolding.

In college it meant being aware of the distance, but still receiving a phone call with a new song every time. It meant a movie night with Renae whose Valentine was also hours away. It meant finding the funniest, cheapest cards available at the local store and passing them out to relive childhood.

In the first years of marriage, it meant doting on one another to reassure the other of our genuine love. It meant long written notes, and special meals, and a day spent together.

As our love grows "older", it means learning that things get better with age. It means a special note on the mirror in the morning. It means a surprise "let's go get dessert out tonight".
It means lingering a little longer during our morning good-bye kiss.

As I've gotten older, it has also meant figuring out a way to make the day just a little bit more fun for my students. It means hanging up a goofy banner,
coming up with a fun writing prompt, and giving them a a cheesy, yet useful, Valentine of their own from me. It means acknowledging that they are, in fact, special when no one else may.

But for me, Valentine's Day has always meant being thankful for the over abundance of love in my life. And remembering, "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

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To my Valentine for always:
Brent, there is no one else I would want to share life with. Thank you for being a leader in our marriage and always finding ways to serve me, pursue me, and cherish me. No one can make me laugh like you...and NO ONE can make me go from ANGRY to LAUGHING except you. I notice the little things you do for me, even if I don't always let you know. Thanks for putting up with my crabby-self in the mornings, for giving me the last of the blueberry yogurt, for unloading the dishwasher and folding the laundry. Thank you for taking on responsibilities around the house when things need repair, even when you don't feel comfortable in that role. Thank you for ALWAYS letting me choose where we go out to eat [Olive Garden], and for encouraging my passions. Thank you for helping me make tough decisions, for letting me cry when I need to cry, and for rubbing my head for hours when I have a headache that just won't go away. Thanks for forcing me to get off my tush and DO STUFF I don't always want to do, but end up enjoying. Thanks for loving me "big a lot" through the past 8 years. And thanks for already loving this little valentine we've created, and loving me through the journey of pregnancy. I can't wait to watch you fall in love with her more and more. When I asked you what you thought you would be good at with her, your response was, "Loving her mom and showing her that example." You'll be great at a multitude of other things, but I have no doubt she will always know you love her mom, because I have never had to doubt that myself. Thanks for being so stinkin' awesome. I love you.

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