173 Days Remaining
Wow, the days are flying by! I had a Valentine's Day post in mind that I wanted to work on for the 14th, but it's that time of year again, with midterms and exhaustion and whatever else comes with it (plus some difficult things that have been going on), that I just have not had opportunity - or energy - to write. Now here it is the 17th, and I'm three days late with a Valentine post. Good thing I'm not in a relationship or the poor guy would have been kept waiting!
Regardless, Valentine's Day is really a bit of a non-issue for me, this year at least. It's nice not to have expectations about anything, although I was very pleased to get text messages from several friends wishing me a Happy V-Day (I had to laugh when one friend sent me a text saying "I hope this day does not sadden you"...while I'm sure it was well-meant, it came across as slightly pitying). I celebrated "Singles Awareness Day" - recognizing the fact that being single is awesome and that not everyone needs to be in a relationship to be happy. In fact, I am a lot happier being single on Valentine's Day than I have been in the past while in a relationship and feeling forgotten.
That being said, Valentine's Day - the modern celebration, at least, if not strictly in its origins - is about love, being loved, and appreciating those you care about. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the people I love, some who mean more and are more important than a boyfriend would at this point in my life.
#1. My children. I have two boys and a girl, who are fast growing up and away from me. My older son, in fact, has surpassed me in height within this past year and now towers over me at around six foot two inches. He is an emotional boy who has the capacity to feel so very deeply, which, combined with teenage hormones, can be difficult for him. My heart aches when he goes through tough times, especially when he won't let anyone near. Having struggled with my own emotional issues, I want so badly to reach out to him and make everything better for him, but all I can do is keep loving him unconditionally - which I could never stop doing - and pray that he will be stronger due to these minor hardships. He is funny, a talented artist, and when he puts his mind to it, a hard worker and great with younger kids. He is an amazing basketball player and creates music videos on the computer that astound me.
My daughter is graduating from high school this year, and is really one of the best teenagers I know - she's sure of herself and what she believes in, strong in faith and moral conviction, beautiful inside and out, smart, and caring toward her friends and those less fortunate. We haven't had the best of relationships since her dad and I split up, but she will forever be my little girl and I am so very proud of who she is becoming. On occasion we make that connection that is so very rare and special, and I see a glimpse of the funny little one who loved her mother oh so very much. I live for those moments of connection with my girl. She's been hurt by our separation, and I wish there were ways I could take some things back so that she could always feel secure and know that I love her more than anything. She made me a mother and when I first held her in my arms, I started becoming the person that God wants me to be. I`ve struggled haphazardly in that journey from there to here, but even when she no longer let me hold her in my arms, I never stopped holding her in my heart.
My younger son is still the joy and light of my life, but I can feel as he grows older that he is moving away from me. He still stands in front of the congregation at church and holds my hand as we sing on the worship team together, but he no longer wants nighttime cuddles before bed or will want to sit as close to me. He`s still so loving and fun, but those moments of preteen belligerence are starting. Having gone through this with the older two, I grasp whatever moments I can with him before our short time together is done and he moves into those difficult teen years. He is funny and smart, and so very caring. I still have an impact on him these days, and you can bet I`m aware of it more than I ever was when my older two were his age! He`s my last baby. I will mourn our closeness later, so I had best take advantage of it while I can.
#2. My family. I have never been closer to my mother, my sister and her husband and children, my dad and my half-sister's family in Alberta. I didn't appreciate them as much when I was younger, but every time I get a chance to spend time with the family I have in town, it's comforting and encouraging. My mom is my go-to person whenever something is wrong or difficult, and she is the best listener - and not only that, but somehow she always knows the right thing to say! Maybe it's simply because she had to parent me (and I was not the easiest teen to deal with!), but whenever I'm having a hard time with the kids and not knowing where to go next, her advice is spot on. I haven't had the chance to sit and have tea with my mommy lately...I am feeling a distinct need to.
#3. My friends. I challenge anyone: I have THE BEST friends in the world. Some of these are LouLou, Stoney, Stringer, Shorty, and my old pal Dent...they are amazing and give me so much love and help when I need it. LouLou and I have been friends for over sixteen years, and Stoney and I have known each other for about five years, and now that I have introduced the two of them to each other and we go to prayer counseling together, it's a group that is so strong in faith and encouragement. We've all gone through our own individual difficulties and continue to struggle, but having these two friends in my life gives me so much joy and hope no matter what the circumstance. I hope to give to each of them just a little bit of what they give to me.
Shorty is a new friend from school this year, and she is so much fun. She's young - almost as young as my daughter - but we have somehow made such a connection that has stood through one semester and into this current one. She is a Christian, so we have that in common, and so silly and ridiculous at times that our craziness just escalates. Having grown up with seven siblings, though, she is also equipped with skills for resolving conflict of any sort - not that she and I have any! - and it gives her such a laid back, calm air when it's needed. For some reason, I can study with Shorty like with no one else. We can laugh our way through biology (and about seven cups of coffee and a dozen fudge muffins) and still come out the other side knowing and understanding more than we ever did. (Speaking of which, we have a midterm on Wednesday...I had better give Shorty a call...)
And Stringer...ah yes, Stringer. Still in my life, although the way things ended between us back in 2009, I never would have expected that he would still be around, never mind that he would be so important to me. Stringer and I have both come such a long way since we dated - well, let's face it: he was 21 years old, and I was an emotional wreck coming out of my marriage. Now, here we are, both a lot more mature, and able to relate to each other in ways we just couldn't manage previously. He encourages me through this dating hiatus, reminds me of things I may have forgotten, teaches me things that I would never have expected him to know, shows me the things in myself that are good and lovely, and enjoys my company as much as I enjoy his. We are able to laugh together and cry together, depending on what's happening. I'm amazed that he and I have reached this level of compatibility, and I don't take it for granted.
So, all in all, my Valentine's Day was full and complete with all these wonderful people in it. How could I ever have sadness when I have such a great support network? I hope you all feel the same way: that there are people you can count on no matter what...people who love you and accept you, will support you and tell you - in a gentle manner - when you're being stupid and you need to snap out of it, who will look to the future with you and help you forget the difficult parts of your past. I don't know where I would be without them.