1. Boy Meets Girl Love Story.
Matt and I have what I think of as a storybook romance. We met our freshman year of college by what I consider fate. Neither of us was supposed to be living on the 6th floor of North Hedges Hall where our love story began. He was going to be in a different dorm building and I was supposed to be three stories up on the ninth floor. I can't remember why he got switched, but I did by a twist of fate. While at orientation I met a girl named Elizabeth. We hit it off and both knew we really wanted to dorm together and not with the people we were originally set up with. We came up with a scheme and went to the administrative offices and made up some story about being cousins and our moms wanting us to room together and could we pretty please switch? For some crazy reason, they believed us and a month later I got a postcard in the mail with my new roommate and room #619. This switch in itself changed so much for me. Good old 6th floor led me to the best group of friends who I have some of the best memories with. I remember moving in those first few days and Matt swaggering into our room in his preppy Polo private school type clothes, introducing himself, sitting down at my desk and in full arrogance rating the senior photos of all my friends I had on my bulletin board. I, of course, noted the cocky attitude but still thought he was a hottie. As the year went on and he let his tough exterior down, we became friends. Like I said we had a great group and all became a little family. Matt and I got closer and I started to look at him as more than a friend. I never acted on it, because I was sure he didn't share the same thoughts. All this changed one night (April 24, 1997 to be exact.) He made his move and the rest is, well...history. After just a few weeks together he went back to Michigan for the summer. I am so happy this was before Internet and email and cell phones were a big thing because we shared letters all summer. Yes, I said letters. I have a shoe box full of love letters we exchanged for those three months. I love it. Nothing lost in cyber space...real actual paper, envelopes with stamps and beautiful words we shared as we evolved from friends to more. Something our kids can see one day and read about our love story. Love letters and hours of phone conversations on a real telephone. The kind where you get charged long distance by the minutes. We have been living happily ever after since. Not to say there aren't bumps in the road and knock down-someone sleeps on the couch fights...you gotta have those. But, what we have is a rare and special love. We got to grow up together and fortunately we have grown in the same ways. He's my best friend and I am a lucky girl to be loved by him.
2. Unlikely True Love Story.
This next one reads more like the all American love story. The kind where there are divorces, step kids, chaos, but at the end love prevails. It is the love story of my sister, Kori and her husband Dave. My sister had her first marriage before she was even twenty years old. She found herself pregnant at a young age and married before my cutie nephew was even born. The odds were against them from the beginning and they gave it a year or so before they threw in the towel and went their separate ways. Marriage number two brought us my beautiful niece Jaelyn and all seemed perfect. However, marriage is hard and things that aren't my story to tell ended things with this one as well. So, now she found herself a single mama of two before the age of thirty. Along comes Dave...also divorced twice with two kids. When they got together and declared after a very short courtship that they were headed to Vegas to get married, we all just rolled our eyes. I remember thinking...don't rush it, just wait. She had been through so much, I assumed she was getting into another short lived marriage. You see, my sister has always been the rebellious one. She's the crazy one, who dreams big and does things on a whim just cuz she wants to live life to the fullest and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. I admire her for that, but in this case just wanted her to date a guy for awhile...let the signatures dry on the last divorce before rushing to get married. But, she is not to be stopped once she has her mind on something. I didn't totally agree with what they were doing, but still wanted to be supportive. I remember helping her pick out a dress with her at Macy's. Even if she was eloping, she still wanted a beautiful dress. How surreal to be in a dressing room helping my sister pick out a dress for her third freakin wedding. It's exactly what she wanted...no fancy ceremony, no guests that she had to make small talk with, no bridesmaids or groomsmen. All she wanted was Dave, a helicopter ride and finally a real marriage. I am so happy to say that today they are celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary. For them the third time really was a charm. Two more babies later, they are a happy family of eight. The kind of fun family you want to be a part of. This past year got to truly test their love. They put the "through sickness and in health" vow to the test. As those who read this regularly know, Kori has been sick and fighting since last May. Through this roller coaster of events Dave has been her rock. He has been by her side when a lesser man would have ran away long ago. They have spent many nights together in a hospital room, with numerous doctors, through test after test. This is true love. Love that overcomes all the hardships they have been through and staying strong. I am so thankful for the love they have together. I am so happy they beat all the odds that were against them and have proved it doesn't matter how many times you've been divorced, or how quickly you get married. True love really does conquer all.
3. Pure Love.
This is a mama's love. Unconditional love that you feel the moment you hold your baby for the first time. The kind you didn't even know existed in you. Before I had Ava I told Matt I wanted the doctors to take the baby after she came out and clean her up, then I'd hold her. The moment Ava was born, that changed...I grabbed for her, slimy and all, and never let go. The love I have for my girls really is the best love story of all. What other love can keep you up all night with a crying baby and you don't care? What other love can throw up all over you and all you feel is so sad for the sick little one? (and, maybe a little grossed out, it is puke after all). When I was pregnant with Layla I remember wondering how it would be possible to love another little one as much as I loved Ava? I was crazy in love with this little blue eyed baby who had captured my heart for the past two years. I didn't think there would be room for more. Wrong I was. There was plenty of love to go around and share with my brown eyed babe who came out screaming. I should have known then she'd be the sassy one. Oh, and how I love her fire. Even when I want to scream with frustration when she is throwing a tantrum that belongs on a two year old, not a five going on six year old. That is pure love.
So, today we celebrate all of this love. I end with a couple of love happies...
-A poem from Ava
Love And Kisses.
Love is all around you.
Cuddles. Oh there is so much love in the world.
Especially the love that has hope in you and faith.
How adorable is that? The things she comes up with amaze me. Layla also wrote one, but it didn't show up well on the photo. It reads:
Love is kisses
and I love you so much mom and dad
so much because I love you
-Valentines scavenger hunt, pink milk and little love gifts
To make things fun I created a scavenger hunt for the girls to go on this morning to find their gifts. It sent them all over house...lots of giggles. It's all about the journey, right?
-A surprise delivery
A dozen roses from my Dad. This is not something he has done before and it totally made my day. I think this past year has brought my already close family even tighter. Made us all appreciate one another in a different way. I was touched by his thought fullness. Your dad is, after all, your first Valentine. I notice this as Matt goes out and picks out a special card and treat for each girl...just from him. So sweet.
Two dozen cupcakes, frosting, colored sugar, sprinkles and candy hearts. All ready to be decorated (or destroyed) by 2nd graders. Good times.
Happy Valentine's Day to you.