Okay, so our anniversary isn't until Valentine's Day but since we're on the countdown to V'day I figured it was a great time to start celebrating (and maybe give you guys a friendly reminder that Valentine's Day is quickly approaching if you haven't started planning your gift for your significant other...hint, hint) and remembering why this day is so special to me! Next to Christmas, this is my favorite "Holiday" and maybe deep down I always knew this would be the day I got married. When Eric popped the question on July 12, 2008 and we figured out that Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday, we knew it fit our personalities and thus the planning began!
What I love so much about Valentine's Day is that it is the day the world celebrates love! So, what better way to signify our love and marriage than on the most romantic day of the year?!?! I still love the movie, "Sleepless in Seattle" and can probably quote most of it without missing a step. Although there are a few bumps in the road, Meg Ryan takes a chance and runs to the top of the Empire State building and essentially meets the love of her life. It may sound like a long shot, but isn't it a long shot for all of us to find "the one" and spend the rest of our lives with them? I met Eric in college when a group of friends went out to eat at a local college hangout. I didn't know until a few months later that he and my friend, Brian, planned the next time Eric and I were around each other because he had asked Brian about me. I still thank Brian for talking me into going with him to his friend's house that July day! As fate would have it, we started dating within a week. We definitely have had our ups and downs but if you love someone, they are worth fighting for, even in the times you are exhausted. After three years, he surprised me on a ridiculously hot July day with an engagement. This happened only after I complained about him wanting to take the boat to dinner, my food was cold, and me asking him what was wrong with him when he asked me to park in a cove and "make out". At this point I thought he had lost all of his marbles but when the boat was parked and I started walking to the back, I turned and he was on one knee. He got me good, I was CLUELESS!
I went the very next weekend to dress shop and found "the dress" on my first trip. Thanks to my friend, Courtenay, she encouraged me to try on a "fun" dress with lots of layers and beads. I thought I wanted a big poofy dress but as soon as I slid it on, I knew it was "the one" and my mind was set! One of my must haves was my Valentine themed Candy Bar as shown above! One of my others....the biggest, brightest, pinkest, blingiest wedding cake I could possibly create. Mrs. Lorraine far exceeded my expectations and I had the "Barbie Cake" I had always imagined! On our one year anniversary, we unwrapped the carefully preserved top layer and to my surprise, it was just about as good as it was on our wedding day!
I know sometimes people look down on Valentine's Day because they are not married or they don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend but to me, it is more than just love for a partner, it is the sheer essence of loving one another. For my boys, I like to make them strawberry milk and make some form of food into the shape of a heart. I've made a heart cake, cupcakes, and even jello. I want it to be fun and exciting and to also show my love for them! In 2018 I partnered with John Milledge Academy to do Valentine's Day cards for the children at the Methodist Home in Macon, Georgia. It was an amazing way for children to show love to other children on what may not be such a fun day for them. I am so excited that I get to do this again next week (February 1) with JMA so our kids at the Methodist Home will receive cards again this year.
Even if Valentine's Day isn't your thing, you can use it as a way to give back and show love for others. Maybe you can take some candies to the nursing home or have your kids help you make cards to send to our service men and women over seas. If you don't really want to be as vocal, just send a monetary donation to your local animal shelter as a thank you for all they do to help our fur babies find forever homes. Do you like being more Eco-friendly, consider spending the morning doing a roadside cleanup or if you are lucky enough to be near a beach or lake, take a trash bag and some gloves and clean up your favorite spot! Are you divorced? Send a donation to a counseling center for a free session for someone going through this difficult time, as you likely understand better than anyone else of their needs. No matter what your passion is for, use Valentine's Day as a way to show your love for something you care about and give back. It does not have to be a lot, remember, it is the little things that make the most impact over time. People will remember you for your giving heart and mindset.
This Valentine's Day I am so excited to not only give a little love to the Methodist Home kids, the John Milledge Kids, my own beautiful kids, and my husband, but also to my community by sharing my stories and inspiration in hopes that others will be motivated to do something special for someone else in their life. Remember, everyone needs to feel special, loved, and wanted, so make some time on Valentine's Day to show a little extra love and appreciation to all who's path you may cross. You never know who may need it to make it through the day! And, if you remember, give Eric and me a shout out for making it an ENTIRE DECADE together! It has not been an easy road, but one well worth fighting for every day! So, happy anniversary to the love of my life and my boys' lives, Eric Wilkinson. We love you more than you will ever know!