Tag Archives: Love

2.14.278

Yes, 278. That’s the year St. Valentine was beheaded; he was Christian and Christianity wasn’t legal until Constantine signed the Edict of Milan in 313. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, St. Valentine performed Christian marriage ceremonies and was imprisoned . . . and then Hallmark turned Valentine’s Day into a holiday.

Even before I had a Valentine, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. When I lived at home, my mum would prepare these Valentine’s Day goody bags for us and leave them about places a the kitchen table. We used to take the candy to school for days. It made Valentine’s Day a day about saying “I love you” to anyone and everyone, which was a very important lesson.

At work today, many of my students complained about feeling lonely and unloved. I asked, “You love people, don’t you? And they love you, right?” For the most part, they smiled.

And that’s what’s important. Valentine’s Day isn’t about chocolate or flowers, though those are nice. It’s about family and friends and reminding those around us that they are loved.

Admittedly, I do have a Valentine. He left me a beautiful surprise on my porch this morning, and I’d like to share it with you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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When the Boyfriend Met the Family

The title makes the content of this post pretty obvious, but there is a little bit of back story, so bear with me. My boyfriend, MJ, and I have been together for five and a half years, if you don’t count the break that we took for much of 2012. My dad’s family lives in Toronto, and with the exception of my grandparents, they don’t visit us in Rochester. This is because of hurt feelings as a result of various behaviors when my parents separated back in 2001. They got back together in 2002, but the bad taste has remained in everyone’s mouths. Therefore, my mum has no contact with my dad’s sister and brother and their families, and vice versa. Consequently, this weekend was the first time MJ got a chance to meet them.

The reason we drove up to Toronto was to celebrate my aunt’s 50th birthday. I’ve had a bit of a begrudging relationship with my dad’s family because of what my 11-year-old self overhead and understood, or misunderstood, when my parents were separated, but that has improved significantly over the past few years. My grandparents, who have met and love MJ, urged me to bring him along to meet the rest of the family; a party would be the perfect opportunity. As it happened, my great aunt (Grandma’s sister), her son (second cousin), and his younger daughter (third cousin) were all in town, too!

Having grown up away from my extended family (Mum’s family is in Montreal), getting together has always been an occasion. It’s always a special event and a flurry of activity; I’ve forever envied friends whose grandparents pick them up from school, who babysit their little cousins, and who have dinner with aunts and uncles once a week. MJ’s entire family lives here, too, so I’ve spent a good deal of time with them over the years. It was so great to introduce MJ into my family in the same way.

The details of what we did are unimportant and probably quite boring, but the moral of the story is that my family loves MJ and they love him. I am so glad they were all finally introduced because now MJ has faces to put to names and my family knows the man I love. It’s such a basic concept, but took so long to come to life. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t pick my family, but that shouldn’t stop me from having a relationship with them and from bringing important people in my life to meet them. There was a long period of time when I refused to go to Toronto, but thanks to social media, email, and the perseverance of all parties, I do have connections with my extended family, and I am proud of that. I was proud to introduce them to MJ, and proud to introduce MJ to them. Even though we’ve never lived in the same city, my cousins and I are friends and have fun and share gossip, hopes, and dreams. Regardless of what came to pass between them, my parents, aunts, and uncles have always tried to bring all the cousins together. After this weekend, I can certainly say that they have succeeded.

To conclude, my boyfriend knows my family and my family knows my boyfriend, and I am so thrilled and honored to know and love all of them.

Wedding Bells

A very old friend, let’s call her Jill, recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend, let’s call him Jack, of almost three years, which came as no surprise to any of us. We knew they were going to get engaged sooner rather than later, and aside from thinking she’s too young (Jill’s not yet 22) I’m really happy for them. A few of us were sitting out on the porch over Memorial Day laughing about how Jill had picked out her own ring and dropped not-so-subtle hints to Jack. Someone teased Jill, commenting, “One day you’ll be happy you spent $4000 on my ring!” The real Jack smiled and replied, “I’m happy today.”

Well, that just about did it for me. Not like I get a say and not like it matters at all, but if Jack and Jill are getting married, they certainly have my blessing. What I want for all of my friends, and for the people of this world really, is happiness. If happiness for Jill means getting married at 22, who am I to argue?

My girlfriends and I are all in Jill’s bridal party, which honestly did come as a surprise. (Note that I introduced Jill as an old friend.) A couple of us went to try on our dresses yesterday, which are really beautiful; it’s a Christmastime wedding so Jill’s colors are red and gold, meaning us bridesmaids are wearing red floor-length gowns. Jill will wear red shoes to match our dresses, which is a contemporary, sassy touch to the very classic, elegant dress she bought yesterday.

In short, wedding bells are ringing. More and more of my friends have talked of engagement or marriage recently, with some even planning to get engaged in a couple years. (I don’t understand that logic, either.) My boyfriend, let’s call him MJ, and I have been together for five and a half years and when he heard that Jack and Jill were engaged he hugged me and said, “We’re too young, okay?” I had to laugh.

But it’s not about age, really, is it? It’s about wanting to spend every moment with a person, sharing hopes and dreams, supporting one another’s endeavors, keeping an eye on one another, feeling safe together, loving each other. Jack and Jill, here’s to years of health, happiness, and love to you!