For a really long time, I held a grudge against Valentine’s Day. Not because of what this day represents, but because of memories that I have carried with me for just about 15 years.
When I first took these photos, I had a very different idea of what I would write about today. However after much thought and consideration, I decided to go in a completely different direction.
I wanted to share this very personal story that I have never discussed here on the blog before. I don’t even think I’ve ever mentioned it. Not even once.
As transparent as I am, there are still many things that I keep personal. But for the sake of today and learning to let go of the tainted past, I decided to open up and talk about it.
I know that these pictures don’t exactly represent the tone of this narrative that you’re about to read, but I think by the time you reach the last paragraph you’ll see the connection.
I promise there’s a happy ending. On Friday February 13th back in 2004, I came home early from college. My morning class had been cancelled. As I pulled in front of my house I saw that the front door was wide open and my childhood dog, Cuddles, was just sitting there in the foyer. Both my mom and sister were away at the time, so I knew that something was wrong.
I’ll never forget that initial feeling as I walked to the door to pick up my dog and make sure he was ok. Naturally, I was too scared to walk inside the house alone, so I called the cops and waited for them to get there.
We walked inside together and at first glance, it looked as though nothing had been touched downstairs. A tiny bit of hope came through, but that quickly disappeared as we continued the search.
My bedroom was torn upside down. All of the drawers had been opened and my personal belongings were scattered around. I immediately felt violated. And then it really hit me.
My house was robbed. I never in a million years thought I would say those words.
They stole a lot of things from me like my laptop, money and expensive clothes, but none of that compared to what they took from my mom. That is what haunts me the most.
My mom’s room was even worse than mine. It was completely ransacked. I swear that my heart stopped beating as soon as I saw all the drawers of her jewelry chest opened. They stole 90% of her jewelry, including her wedding ring, engagement ring and other pieces that my father bought her throughout their 25-year marriage.
I had to come home to all of this completely alone and I had to be the one to break the news to my mom. It wasn’t about the material aspect of things. None of that matters in the grand scheme of things, but it was about the sentimental value of those weddings rings and what they represented to my mother.
The rest of that day is still a big blur to me. All I can remember is talking to the cops for what felt like forever. My father had rushed over to my rescue to make sure that I was ok. He slept over that night so that I could feel safer in my own home.
Without getting into the details, I will just say that this was not a random occurrence. While we never received confirmation, I’ve known in my heart who was involved ever since that day. I’ve blamed myself and I’ve carried it with me.
The next day was Valentine’s Day. While everyone was out celebrating with their significant others, I just remember feeling so alone and scared. And every year since, I’m reminded of that time in my life.
Flash forward to two years after that, I was dating a new guy and I felt completely enamored by him. I had never felt this way before. On Valentine’s Day, I found out that he had sent a dozen roses to another girl on campus that he had been secretly dating.
My heart was crushed. I once again felt alone and unworthy. I struggled so much with self-love back then.
All the Valentines Days after that, my father was my valentine without fail. He always knew how to cheer me up and make me feel loved on this day. But then a few years later, he passed away and that was taken from me too.
We all have a past with deep rooted memories that have played a part in shaping who we are today. The important thing is that we grow through all of that and come out stronger. I’m proud to say that my strength is the most powerful that it’s ever been.
While these moments in time will never leave my thoughts completely, I’ve been working really hard to get to this place where I can coexist with them in peace. I’ve allowed them to taint this day for far too long.
Valentine’s Day is not just for those who are married and in a relationship. We put so much emphasis on that, but I’m starting to see it as a day to celebrate the love that I have for myself. I’ve learned to be my own valentine. Self-love is such a powerful thing! Don’t underestimate it.
Now, to end this story on a happy note, I have a big surprise to share. I’ve been keeping this secret since Christmas!
Mia is going to be a big sister and I am going to have another niece! I’m so excited to welcome another little angel into the family and I’m so happy for my sister.
The crazy thing is that her due date is August 25th, our father’s anniversary. And she is going to have two girls, just like me and her, that will be the same age difference apart. I’m pretty sure our dad had a hand in this.
This right here is proof that the blessings are always bigger than the burdens. While I may have experienced a lot of loss throughout my life, I’ve also experienced an abundance of love, opportunities and blessings. I’m eternally grateful.
This might not have been a story you were expecting to read today, but I thank you for reading it. Whether you are single or attached, make sure to celebrate YOUR LOVE today. Celebrate it every day. I love you! ❤️