My Funny Valentine I came home from work this evening to find my sweet Dan sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by frothy material and bowls of candy, quotes, and sparkly things. He was creating individual gifts for each of his yoga students in his morning class, the dogs sitting happily at his feet. I stood and watched him work, realizing yet another reason why I love this man with every fiber of my being. There is a genuine kindness and compassion that runs through his veins. I have seen it in his interactions with his students, with my mother, with homeless people, with animals, with waiters and store clerks, and over and over again with me. There is never a time when we interact with people when Dan doesn’t make them smile or laugh. He has a gift…and he is a gift. My gift of love.
Tomorrow will be our eleventh Valentine’s Day together. Life before Dan is a distant memory, and life with him is a joy. Sometimes I am brought to my knees with the depth of feeling I have for him. He literally saved me almost twelve years ago. Divorced after almost sixteen years of marriage, I was broken, scared, living in a new city, newly employed at UAB. I always felt there was someone out there for me, someone that understood and appreciated the love I had to give. And then one day, I came out of a symphony rehearsal and ran into Dan, who was the facilities manager of UAB’s performing arts center. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach, the feeling was that visceral. I used to scoff at the idea of love at first sight, but no more. We went to lunch together the next day and have been together ever since.
What is it about Dan, about our relationship, that works? Aside from his kind and gentle nature, his wonderful sense of humor (we laugh…a lot), we see the world seemingly through the same eyes. We are often surprised at just how similar our likes and dislikes are, how easy it is to go through life together. We have enough differences to keep things interesting, and the foundation of shared dreams and goals. I say that it is easy to be together because it feels that way, but I know we both work hard to be good partners. There is a constant attention to the happiness of the other person, along with celebrating each others’ successes and sharing strength with each other in times of challenge.
I often tell Dan that he is my heart, and I mean it. One of our favorite sayings is from Dan’s grandfather, “You and me- we’s like peas and carrots.” He is my best friend, my soul mate, my other half. On this Valentine’s Day, I am thankful for this man who loves me with all his heart, who believes in me, makes me laugh, comforts me, stands by me….all of the things I will gladly do for him until my dying breath. What a gift love is, what magic it creates. My heart feels more full, as somehow I find a way to love him just a little bit more each and every day. My funny, goofy, wonderful Valentine.