To all of my Valentines

You may not be all that into Valentine’s day – I certainly never have been. This Valentine’s day has been a bit different for me though. I am out West, and all of my Valentines are back in Illinois. No…I’m not in a relationship, but it just so happens that I have quite a few Valentines.

Before coming out to California, I had a full time job, but more importantly, I also helped look after some girls out in Wheaton every Monday. Some background – After I graduated from school, I was given the opportunity to go along with a Professor and his family on their fourth adoption. They where heading to China to pick up Sadie, and they needed a third person to come along and help look after their older girls so they could focus on the newest addition to the family. I jumped at the opportunity. After that, I was welcomed as an extended part of the family. Soon after Sadie joined the family, we welcomed Sena just a few months later, making that a total of five girls. After being grafted into that family, I quickly learned that Valentine’s day happened to be one of Mary’s (the mother) favorite holidays. It seemed a bit odd to me at first; the only people I know that claim Valentine’s day as their favorite holiday are sappy romantics. Mary had never seem a sappy romantic to me. She explained though, that Valentine’s day is really about showing those you love just how much they mean to you. For Mary, that meant her husband, of course… but it also meant all of her girls. Mary has never taken for granted how lucky she is to be able to nurture and watch her five girls grow up. Children are a gift, they force your heart to grow bigger then you ever though was imaginable. Why not celebrate that on Valentine’s day?

I had never thought much of Valentine’s day before, but it started to grow on me. It’s weird because Valentine’s day seems to be a very dividing day. If you are in a relationship, people like to go all out – chocolate, roses, romance…the whole nine yards; but if you are not in a relationship, it’s a day of turning up noses in an air of “I don’t need a relationship to be happy”. Neither camp is a bad one – honestly – both are very valid places to set up a tent and call it a day. But I still prefer Mary’s approach – it’s a great day to stop and appreciate all of the people in your life that you love. For me, that’s my parents, my closets friends who have been with me though thick and thin (and still FaceTime me from halfway across the country), and the five girls that stole my heart away. These are the people who have made me who I am today, and I love them all the more for that. This has been my first Valentines’s day without the before mentioned people, and it makes me all the more grateful of them.

So happy Valentine’s day – to all the sappy romantics and stoics alike. If you have people in your life that have commandeered space in your heart, take some time to celebrate that.