Red hearts, red roses, chocolate in heart shaped boxes, tiny hard heart shaped candy with cute sayings: 'BE MINE', 'LOVE YOU',' KISSES FOR YOU', etc., romantic cards, candle light dinners, red drink glasses and plates, chocolate flowers, jewelry, and more chocolate. I remember grade school when my mom would get us a bag of those inexpensive valentines cards and I would spend the evening before writing my name on each one, picking out one or two special cards for the pretty girls in my class and not so nice looking ones for my buddies. The next day I would exchange all those valentine cards with my classmates and laugh about the funny ones I would have recovered from my buds. I would also find that one special cards from that girl two rows over that I never paid much attention to and wonder what I had done to be so deserving.
Linda has always made the day special, with cards and candy, but even more special by setting the table with unique dishes, goblets and flatware that could only mean it was Valentines Day. The kids and I are always treated to an extra good dinner, like the steak and shrimp feast that she will have for us today. Our girls are married now and are off continuing this tradition with their own families, but Nick still gets a special Valentine Day card and has been reminded "You bet you will be my Valentine until you meet your future wife".
Over thirty seven years ago I asked Linda to be my wife. My permanent valentine. This last Sunday our pastor spoke about the importance God placed on marriage and how that besides Him, our spouse should be #1 in our lives. Not just on anniversaries or birthdays or holidays or even Valentine's Day, but everyday!
My diagnosis in January of 2010 forced me to reexamine my priorities. It became very clear that Linda should be, and I needed her to be, my #1. I did not have to look far for a role model. My multiple myeloma attacked my sacrum, that boring bone that connects our spine to our pelvis and just as important, shields all the nerves for the lower half of our bodies from the pressures caused by sitting bending and twisting. The myeloma ate away about 70% of my sacrum so I have diffulcutty performing mundane tasks like sitting, putting on socks and shoes, tying shoes, clipping toenails or applying lotion to my very dry lower legs and feet. For the last three years Linda has done all of these menial tasks with a smile on her face and love in her heart. Just like Jesus did when He washed His disciple's feet. What a fantastic role model. As Tom Cruise said in one of his films, and in so many many other ways, "She completes me." I realize now how very blessed I am to have her in my life.
Linda, thank you for being my Valentine. I could not ask for a finer wife, caregiver, friend, lover and permanent Valentine. Happy Valentine's Day!