Well, it's almost here again...the day that we as American women either look forward to with ecstatic enthusiasm or dread almost as much as our annual visit to the gynecologist...VALENTINE'S DAY! Ever since Bobby Tuttle put his handmade Valentine's Day card in my white paper bag in Mrs. Jones 4th grade class - not one single day has meant more to my chronically-romantic nature and I must add long suffering heart than this most cherished day.
Now, what I have to say next is sure to come as a shock. ...I know by the emails I have received from many of you that you think I am in the throngs of a happily- ever- after marriage. But no - I have been dipping my toes in and out of the murky dating pool for almost 11 years now and trust me - I do mean murky. These have been probably the toughest years of my life - emotionally speaking. During these past 11 years, I've buried both of my parents - which were the absolute two hardest days of my life. There were days, when honestly, I didn't know how I could get out of bed much less put one foot in front of the other. Unbearably tough times. And for some reason I'll never understand why I had to go through those times alone. In spite of the fact that I'd been in and out of relationships - serious ones at that....to the point that I was engaged several times- I was still left to face my parents death alone. And I don't think there is a more alone feeling in the world than sitting in the ER, the ICU and finally hospice - alone. Especially as an only child. I've heard that we really never grow up until we lose our parents. And I believe this to be very true. But then again His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts. So, there's obviously a reason for things happening the way they do. And maybe one day I'll find out what that reason was. Looking back on those days; however, I realize that I was never really alone. The Lord was with me, and He was carrying me when I was too weak to stand. He was the reason I endured.
Okay, back on track...Valentine's Day. Awww...Truthfully, the last two Valentine's Day were probably two of the happiest days of my life. A dozen red roses, a romantic candlelight dinner and a beautiful engagement ring. Life couldn't get much better than that. You know what I'm talking about. We've all had those kind of Valentine's Days - the perfect ones - the ones that make the world look so bright, so beautiful.
But that was then and this is now. Reality set in not too much long after the last Valentine's Day and I was forced to see that behind my proverbial knight in shining armor was a very wounded little boy who had control and jealousy issues. Not that I'm perfect - oh no, not by a long shot. But WOW! I'm seeing a pattern here - I keep attracting the same type...will I ever learn? So, after 7 months of nurturing my once again broken heart and trying to pick up the pieces of yet another shattered dream - I'm facing the other kind of Valentine's Day in a mere eight days. I've been bracing for this day for the past month....trying to prepare myself. There will be no romantic candlelight dinners, no red roses, no 8 by 10 card with a picture of this blissfully happy couple on the front. Instead, this year I will be in Austin with my youngest daughter who is having surgery. But just today the thought occurred to me that there's no other place I'd rather be on February 14, 2013 - than by her side. After all, she is one of the greatest loves of my life. And if my so-called dream relationship hadn't ended when it did - the chances of me being by her side would be slim.
So, here's to all you single ladies out there on Valentine's Day. My wish for you is that you love yourself and realize that God loves you more than you can imagine. Remind yourself of that fact. He will never forsake you. He'll never leave you alone when you're facing the greatest trials of your life....no matter what those trials may look like. Whether it's another surgery, the loss of a loved one or an unbearable heartache. He'll be my your side.
On this Valentine's Day take time to discover a new appreciation for your friends and family. After all, that's where you're the most likely to find true love....lasting love. The kind of love that always lifts you up when you're feeling down and hopes for and believes in the best for you. Unconditional love.
So on February 14th, hug your child, your children, your grandkids, then go out and buy yourself a red rose, a dozen roses, a box of candy and the CD by Whitney Houston that has one of my favorite songs on it- The Greatest Love of All, turn up the volume and sing out loud to the top of your lungs. Light a candle, bask in it's soft glow, draw yourself a hot bubble bath and sip on that glass of wine or champagne. Here's to you. Today is your day. Will you be my Valentine?