Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

It's a lovers' holiday, isn't it? And so, if you don't have a lover, this day feels a bit like there is a blinding spotlight on your single status.

I'm very grateful to my parents, though, who made the day special in our familymade it into a day to be very intentional in telling each other how much we loved them and just what we loved about them. Mom would buy us fun little gifts (and still does)socks, undies, hair accessories, candy. But best of all...we wrote notes to each other. And Dad wrote notes to each of us and left them on the breakfast table for us. The highlight of the morning was running to the table to see what he left for us. I still have a stash of those notes from my dad from 20 and more years ago. Thank you, Dad. I love you.

My family (December 2012) L to R: Mom, me, Erika, Abby (my sis), Micah, Dad, Ruthie, Jake (my brother-in-law), Alaina, Gus, Matt (my brother), Julie (my sister-in-law)

When I got married, Valentine's Day became even more fun. I had a VALENTINE. And this valentine of mine made this day pretty fun (are you surprised? He loved any excuse to celebrate!) There were the usual cards, flowers, chocolate, gifts. And an amazing dinner outusually steak. Yeah, it was cliche, I guess. But I don't care. I loved it. And I'd do anything to have it this year too. I think this whole "it's a greeting card holiday" is sort of lame. Celebrate the people you love! Do this every day, but make it really sappy on Valentine's Day! Here's some marriage advice—and it's on me: guys, your girls might say they don't care about this day, but if you made it really great...well, I have a hard time believing she would object. We are all at least a little bit romantic at heart.

Chris and I also made sure to listen to Glenn Beck's hilarious Valentine's Day show, in which he rescued guys who had completely blown it with failing to get restaurant reservations... it was really funny. And we always watched (you guessed it) the Charlie Brown Valentine episode (the classic one). And do not forget Jake calling and texing (several times) "HAPPY BALENTIMES DAY!" (just like Mr. T).

This year, I've been thinking a lot about my last three Valentine's Days:

2010our first as a family of three. I sent out valentines from Erika to her little friends.

2011my dad was at United Hospital for a procedure (on his heart, no less) and my sweet, tiny nephew Gus was in the NICU down the hall. We delivered a valentine steak dinner to Matt and Julie to eat in that little (sort of depressing) NICU family area, and we also visited my dad. When we came home, we put Erika to bed and ate the same steak for a home date for our Valentine's day. And then (this is the best part!), I sent Chris on a treasure hunt in the house. Abby helped me with the rhyming clues that led him to his Valentine's Day and 40th birthday gift all-in-one... a trip to Fort Myers, FL for Twins Spring traing. Five days at the beginning of March. He was so thrilled, and I was overjoyed to give it to him.

March 2011 in Florida

2012this one is very difficult to remember. I feared he would die on Valentine's Day. He did not. And when I left him with Aunt Sissy for a bit that day to get a card for him (I didn't want to buy it ahead of time in case I would be stuck with a card I could never give him) and some little gifts for Erika, he asked me to pick out a card for MYSELF on his behalf. How does one pick out their own valentine? How do you decide what that person wants to say to you? Somehow, it was not that hard. I knew how he felt about me. And it did not feel conceited. I felt his love deeply, and I knew what he appreciated about me. He wrote very little in that card (because he could not), and it was in very shaky handwriting. I can't quite remember what he actually wrote. Perhaps I will look at it before this day is over. And then the three of us watched Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. For the last time together.

This day is the last "first" I will have in this year after his death. Somehow, it seems almost cruel that it is Valentine's Day. Yet, I strive to look to the Lover of my soulJesus. I pray He would fill me up on this day. That His love would satisfy me.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the goodness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. Ps. 36:7-9

I wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day. May you be blessed as you look to the Lover of YOUR soul and at those you love.


  1. Great words Em! I love that Chris's enthusiasm for the day has continued forward, even if this Valentine's Day is a difficult one. I totally agree that a day to celebrate love is a great thing, and an excuse to be a little cheesy about it? Even better! I particularly like giving and getting cards from my nieces and nephews, kids makes holidays so fun. Many prayers for you on this bittersweet day, friend.

  2. Celebrating the LOVES in your life, today, from the past, and in the future.

    You are lovable Emily. You value it, treasure it and seek it.

    Love will always find you.


  3. Emily

    If there was a way for me to take away the sting of this day I would do anything to make it happen. I am praying for you to be able to still enjoy the day as you are surrounded by those who love and care for you deeply. Thank you for bravely sharing your memories of your sweetheart. It has caused me and I'm sure others to appreciate our loved ones and take time to tell them.
    With much respect and love.


  4. Emily, God Bless your new ministry. You have the gift of written word.
    Gene H