By most standards, the beginning of my parents’ marriage did not bode well for its longevity. After meeting at a dance and dating for all of three months, they hopped on a bus to Las Vegas and got married. Because my father was in the army, they lived apart at first, only getting together for the short periods of time his leaves allowed. Then he shipped off to Europe with his outfit and was away for over a year.
Although they are both gone now, Valentine’s Day still means more to me than a Hallmark holiday; it is an annual reminder of the strength of their union, brought together in a time of war and fortified over the years as a relationship built on love, commitment, and shared values.
My brothers and I were lucky to be able to celebrate our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary with them. My mother passed away in 2000, a few years shy of their 60th. Tomorrow, on their Valentine’s Day anniversary, I will say a heartfelt “thank you.” Thank you for giving us a happy, secure childhood. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of an education and continued learning. Thank you for instilling in us a passion for travel. Thank you for showing us what love looks like.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking a chance and hopping on that bus. We are grateful.
My husband cracks me up. He doesn’t tell a lot of jokes, not in the conventional sense anyway (“Did you hear the one about…”), but his silliness quotient is pretty high. In fact, he can be a total dork… and I love it.
Having a good sense of humor is one of the most important traits I looked for in anyone I’m going to spend time with, let alone live with. If someone can laugh at themselves and find the humor in less-than-humorous situations, it is a sign of self-confidence and flexibility. Who wants to hang out with anyone who needs to maintain a polished image or present their best self at all times? People who generally feel good about themselves and aren’t too self-conscious are usually confident enough to be silly. And being silly is when life gets fun.
I love our inside jokes… some that date back to the first days of our relationship. I love how just one word or look can instantly recall a funny story that resides in both of our memories. I love how we riff off of each other when one of us starts a silly streak, and the other picks it up, adds to it, and then sends it back for more. I love how we can laugh at ourselves and – gently – laugh at each other, confident that we are safe in each other’s heart.
We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in traditional “Hallmark Holiday” ways; we don’t go out to dinner nor do we give each other gifts of flowers or chocolates. In fact, we spend Valentine’s Day pretty much like any other day… but that’s OK. As long as our day contains a fair amount of fun and a good dose of silliness, I have all the hearts and romance I need.
I am so grateful to my husband for bringing his special brand of joy and laughter into our marriage. I wouldn’t trade my funny valentine for any other.
I came upon this arrangement in the sand on a lonely, out-of-the-way beach in southern Hawaii. It made me wonder who it was intended for and whether they were present to receive its beautifully simple message.