Dear Nora, Braden, and Mabel,
Happy Valentine's Day!
You are the loves of my life. You are the beat to my heart. Today, I woke up celebrating the very places inside of me that you fill up and are overflowing simply because I am your mom.
Kids, this is a special day and should always be treated as such. Our country sets aside an entire day to celebrate love. This is a really big deal because although it should be celebrated every single day, love is sometimes taken for granted and sometimes pushed aside. It often times takes second place to other tasks, people or situations. Today I want to speak from my heart and tell you exactly what I'm feeling in hopes that one day you will look back and understand love not only because of how I show it to you but because of how I'm able to express it.
First I want you to know how deeply loved you are by your Heavenly Father. He created you perfectly and He adores your every detail. There is nothing about you that makes Him unhappy. In fact, the Bible tells us that He delights in you! And I do too, baby. I delight in all of who you are. Your outer beauty is breathtaking but inside I know that your heart is full of light and goodness and that is what is most important. I know that God created you to be a hope to those around you.
Nora, I know that this year you have questioned the word 'love' a lot. I want to assure you that on this day last year I could not wait to celebrate how much I loved your daddy. I had no idea that just one week later our lives would change forever. I was just as surprised and devastated as you were. I feel like you have questioned my love for your dad a lot over the past several months and I understand that. I want to be gentle with you but one day, when you're old enough to be reading this, I pray that you understand all of this very clearly. I loved your daddy big. I loved him the best that I could love him for as long as he allowed me to do that. Your dad maybe didn't receive that love the way that I thought I was giving it and that is ok. Sometimes people just feel things differently or have an entirely different need than we are able to offer them. But I need you to know that I loved him desperately for many years and would have continued to do so if that is what he wanted.
All of that aside, I want you to hear this most of all:
Just because daddy left...just because my heart was broken...just because our lives changed forever...just because I was hurt...
didn't mean that I was ready to NOT feel love again.
I made a very conscience choice at some point in the days after your dad left to forgive him, to NOT close off my heart and I set out to be open to love again.
Because after all, Nora, love is the very most important thing that we have. It is the absolute reason for our existence. God created us to love and not hate, forgive and not harbor anger. He created us to give love and receive it. He made us to be open, fruitful, kind, and passionate. I believe that many of these traits are acquired by first loving yourself.
I wanted all of those wonderful qualities in my life and in my heart. I wanted to be an example to you of how you can let go and yet love again. I wanted you to see that our hearts are incredible machines. They are able to be broken ruthlessly and yet rebuilt and repaired quickly. Our hearts are always, always capable of giving more love, Nora. Never forget that.
You are much more simple to write to on this day because buddy, you show love every day. Your heart is much like mine-resilient and open. You are quick to move forward, quick to forgive, empathetic, and so so loving. The qualities I see in you make me proud and excite me for your future wife. I know that you will take care of someone with great dignity and respect. I know that you will put someone else's needs before your own because you do that even now. You are gentle and kind, patient and loving. You have all of the qualities now that I read about in the book of Corinthians in the Bible regarding love. I hope that I can continue to nourish you in love so that one day you will be fulfilled in your life, whether alone or sharing it with another.
My dear Valentine girl. You have shown me the kind of love that I needed in order to love better. You have shown me the definition of love, truly, which begins with purity. There is no more true love than the kind that is selfless. I take care of you every day in every single necessary way because not only do I have to, but because I love you so very much. And you give love back to me only in small, delicate ways that you are able. This is the kind of love that only a mother like I can understand. I fully appreciate this type of truth because in learning it, I learned exactly who I was created to be and that was essential in me being able to love another person wholly. Without you, and our journey, I wouldn't be the woman or mother that I am on this very Valentine's Day today. I would be a much less full human. But because of you, Mabel Audrine, I am enriched with a life that is so rewarding, and so consuming that I can never run out of love. Not ever.
To all of my beautiful children, and all the others who call me 'Aunt Ramee,'
You make my life complete. You remind me that even in sadness and darkness, there is hope and light. There is a reason and purpose for existing and sharing this life with others. Every single time that I open the door to this home and see your smiling faces, the door to my heart opens and reminds me that this is why I am here.
Please listen closely, kids.
I will always love you. There is nothing in this world that you could ever do to stop me from loving you with all of who I am. This home will always be a safe place for you to come. There will always be snacks in the cabinets, music for dancing, an ear for listening, a mouth for praying, a shoulder for crying. I will never leave you and will continue to show you love in all of the ways that I pray will help you to grow and give it back to others.
Please remember, if you first love yourself you will be able to effectively and passionately love another. Take the time in your life to learn about who you are and who God created you to be. I truly believe with all of who I am that you should be able to live your life alone and be sustained only by your own heart before you can fully open it up and give yourself to another. It is the greatest gift that you can give someone to explore your own heart and your own mind before you try to share them with another. But when you do, please please please, let it be exactly what it was designed to be:
Rich, full, passionate, playful, respectful, genuine and giving.
To the man with the gentle green eyes, who I now love...
Thank you for showing up time and time again. Thank you for walking into this crazy life. Thank you for encouraging my strengths and for giving me the freedom to be weak. Thank you for holding my sweet girl when I'm tired and for your quiet, patient understanding with Nora and Braden. Because of you, I know that they will understand all the important things I am teaching them about how to love in the right ways; with respect, honesty, consistency and kindness.
Because we truly do live for the moment, I'm just so thankful for you today and every day that we spend together.
Happy Valentines Day, world.
Love is always worth celebrating!