All the Single Ladies

It is here again, February. The month that single ladies seem to dread, and I am already hearing the complaints about “Singles Awareness Day”.  Every year on Valentines Day I end up making a Facebook post in response to all the posts by my single friends. This year I thought I would get ahead of the curve.

A little history of my history with Valentine’s Day is in order. Growing up we always made Valentines cards for family members; they were works of love involving doilies, lace, scissors and glue.  For many years when I was small we had small fabric hearts, which at Christmas would hang on the tree, then when the tree was put away, they would hang on a row of nails across the beam in the middle of the house. Some years we had a Valentines tree, pruned branches of fruit trees that were forced into bloom by being brought inside, we would make small valentines to hang on the branches. When I got older my dad would always bring home potted primroses, cards and candy for my mom and I.

Fast forward to the first Valentine’s Day I went out with a boyfriend. We went to a concert at our church, I can’t even remember who was playing. He picked me up, for the first time ever, and we were just so happy to be driving alone that we took the long way around to church. I had made him chocolate chip cookies. He had nothing for me. I still remember the sheepish look on his face as he handed me a lollipop he got from the sound room. Fast forward again, to the Valentine’s Day before I married that same boyfriend. He gave me a salad spinner, (I really, really wanted one) and inside it were snickers bars and homemade coupons for back massages. (Which when I ran across one, years later in our marriage, he refused to honor.) In nine years those are the ONLY two valentines days I remember. (actually, I remember one more…but that memory is terrible, and I would rather not talk about it.)

I have way more memories of family Valentine’s Days then of romantic Valentine’s Days. In the last 6 years of I being single again, I have had great Valentine’s Days with my family, we lay out our cards and gifts at each persons place setting for dinner. Several times my mom has made a delicious heart shaped pizza. Once I went out with a friend for dinner and a sappy chick flick.

Why do I tell you all this? Because being with someone is no guarantee of a happy, satisfying Valentine’s Day. And NOT being with someone doesn’t have to mean a sad, disappointing Valentine’s Day.

The point is: Valentines Day is just a day. It can be good or bad depending on what YOU make of it. You can choose to wallow in your singleness, be hyper sensitive to all the hearts and flowers, and make comments about how stupid it is. (And can I just mention, self-pity is NOT attractive) OR you can chose to make the most of the day, by showing those around you that you love them. Make cards. Have friends over for dinner. Decorate. Make it about giving love, not selfishly wanting romantic tokens. Don’t let one day ruin your month, your week, or even your day.

So what are my plans for Valentine’s Day this year? My best friend and I are taking our sons to their first rock concert. Definitely cracking up to be the most memorable Valentine’s Day date I have ever had.

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Thirty

Today I turn thirty. I had big plans for my birthday, as mentioned in my last blog. Not only are those plans not coming true, no plans are happening today. Both my son and I are sick, so celebrations plans have had to be postponed.  The one thing I most wanted to do on this milestone of a birthday, besides spending it with friends, was to thank my friends and let them know what they mean to me. So I am going to do that. This originally started out as a speech for my imagined party, but given the circumstances I thought I would share it here. The upside? You won’t see me cry as I try to get through it.

My life at thirty is totally different then I had ever planned, and it is better than I could have imagined, in large part because of the friends that have come into my life. At thirty I think I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and that is in due in large part to the people I am lucky enough to call friends. While there have been many people who have influenced my life in big and small ways over the last 7 years, these have had the largest impact on getting me to where I am now. I am going to list them in order of how long I have known them.

Justin- You are one of the few friends that carried over from my “other life” We have know each other since Jr. High, that is a long time to know someone. We haven’t always been close or even kept in touch. But you were there for me at my darkest moments. You were the only friend who walked with me through my divorce, who saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Who always listened, and never judged. For this I will be forever grateful.

Lia- You are an answer to prayer, literally. I needed a friend so desperately and I prayed and prayed for one. I wasn’t so sure about you at first, but I am so glad I took the chance. You have been the most amazing friend I could imagine. You have been with me through all the ups and downs of figuring out my new life. You always have a listening ear, encouraging words, and good advice. You always tell me how you are praying for me, and that means the world to me! I can’t imagine doing life without you.

Henry- If Lia was an answer to prayer, you were the answer to a prayer I didn’t know I prayed. For the last few years I have seen you more often that anyone else in my life, other than my family. There is something about seeing someone that often, you can’t hide. You see each other’s ups and downs and everything in between. Somewhere in the middle of nursing school you became more than just a friend; you became family. Watching out for me AND making fun of me, in true big brother fashion. You kept me from losing my sanity. Thank you for walking through life with me.

Elizabeth- When I met you I was in a lonely place in life, I felt like I just didn’t fit in anywhere. Then I met you; the crazy tattooed lady. And with some other friends we spent the summer just doing life together. No one cared that I was a single mom with a crazy kid, and for the first time since my divorce I felt accepted. I felt like I fit. You have seen me fall apart more than anyone else on this list, (which may only be twice, but still) you have seen me cry and eat Oreos off your floor. You have always been willing to watch my son when I need it, and have always opened your home to me. Thank you for being there when I need you.

Cara- Honestly, when I first met you I was a little intimidated by you. You were beautiful, funny, and confident. All things I didn’t feel I was. But as I got to know you, I couldn’t help but like you, you were real and honest and kind. As we became friends your confidence started to rub off on me, and not only was I no longer intimidated by you, I started to be less intimidated by other people and situations. You helped me learn to not take myself so seriously, to lighten up and have some fun. I needed that so much, thank you.

Aundria- When we started talking I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I have never become so close of friends with someone so quickly. But just like with everyone else on the list it was obvious that God had brought us into each other’s lives for a reason. After Baby was born, it may have seemed like I was helping you; but really you were helping me. You helped me see a purpose for my story, as I was able to use it to help you. I love your blatant honesty; it has helped me to be honest and real with you and with others. Thank for sticking with me, even when I could only be your Sunday friend.

The most amazing thing about this list is that, except one, none of these people were in my life just 5 short years ago. If that doesn’t give me hope for what the next 5 years hold, I don’t know what will.