Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s still early, but have you had your fill of convo hearts and chocolate? As with most holidays and special events, we like to celebrate at home with a special meal, which I’ll share with you soon. We have fun collaborating on a menu, trying new things and avoiding the crowded mania of restaurants.
I’m fortunate to be surrounded by incredible examples of love. My grandparents alone have 130 years of marriage between them! I get to experience love every day; and while I’m not crazy over the commercialism that’s engulfed this holiday, I do like taking a moment to really celebrate the love I have in my life. And not just with Joe…but especially Joe.
Today’s Friday Five is a list of a few of my favorite valentines from over the years.
5. My First Valentine
As a little girl my Dad used to surprise me with teddy bears and, later, flowers. Even having them delivered once I left home. It was heartwarming to always feel like Daddy’s Little Girl with sweet, sentimental gifts. In fact, I still have a small white teddy bear with red trim that came with a rubber “I love you” stamp that he gave me when I was maybe six? Seven? Some valentines last forever. We don’t have a lot of pictures together since one of us is usually behind a camera, but this is one of my favorite photos of us–sharing a laugh at my wedding during the Daddy-Daughter dance.
4. My Freaky Valentine
While in China, Joe took me to our favorite “western” restaurant, Polo. We learned from one of our Aussie colleagues that Polo’s owner, a certain Mr. Player (I’m avoiding this coming up in any future Google searches), was an underworld gangster boss that had escaped to China before being sentenced for murder. (You can read a little bit more about him here and here. And see photos here.) We would see him around the restaurant now and then, but on this Valentine’s Day he came over to our table and gave me a rose and a hug before singing karaoke to a couple who got engaged over dinner. It was awkward and I remember whispering “pleasedontkillme” under my breath after we hugged. Here’s Joe, forcing a smile over my contact with organized crime, holding my rose.
3. My Funny Valentine
Laughter is a huge part of love. They go hand-in-hand to me. And no one makes me laugh harder than this little girl. Just this week, as she took down our Girl Scout Cookie order, she had me cracking up when she told me with eyes wide “whooa! that’s a lot!” in response to the number of Tagalong boxes we needed. Hey, don’t get in the way of us and our peanut butter and chocolate! From our humble beginnings to crazy selfies, she continues to surprise me and fill me with happiness. I hope she’ll always find being Aunt NoNo’s Valentine cool.
2. My Furry Valentine
You knew she’d make the cut. When it comes to love, it’s hard to beat my relationship with my dog. I know that makes me sound pathetic, but it’s true. This precious pup is the real deal and fills my day with lots and lots of pure, unconditional love. She deserves to be in on the holiday madness. Even if all she’ll do to enjoy the day is sleep in my arms. I’ll take it over chocolate any day. Looks like I’m in good company when it comes to celebrating with fur babies.
1. My Forever Valentine
He jokes that he’s below Bella on this list, but he’s wrong. You’re looking at my #1. He’s everything I’d ever want in a Valentine – loving, funny, hard-working, supportive, smart – all wrapped up in a handsome package. We’ve seen the world together, yet the only place we ever really want to be is home…our home…together. I love you, Joe. Thanks for being my Valentine today and always.