Teri Vance: Happy Valentine’s Day … to everyone in every situation

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

My husband, Gary, and I spent our first Valentine’s Day together five years ago. We had only been dating a few months, but we had fallen fast and fallen hard.
We were all caught up in the swirly daze of love.
I opened my gift from him to see he’d printed the words of a poem he’d written for me on a piece of wood. It was one of THOSE moments.
The ones that make you scream, “Oh, my gosh, we are totally meant to be together!”
I revealed my gift to him. It was the same poem printed on top of a photo of the two of us together.
It was serendipitous and romantic — everything that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be.
Everything we put pressure on ourselves to create every Feb. 14.
I’ve already heard friends dreading the upcoming holiday. Either they aren’t in a relationship, or they feel overwhelmed to try to fabricate the proper amount of romance the day calls for in their current relationship.
Five years later, I’m sure this Valentine’s Day will look different than our first. The day falls right between both of our birthdays, and we are both dealing with some difficult situations with our respective families. Valentine’s Day will take a backseat to everything else that’s going on.
And that will be just fine.
My heart (in honor of Valentine’s Day) goes out to anyone feeling lonely, alone or inadequate at this time.
There are so many different ways of celebrating so many different kinds of love.
It reminds me of an appaloosa horse we had growing up. Huey was out in the pasture with the other horses when somehow he encountered a sheep that must’ve been left behind from nearby sheepherders.
By the time we wrangled in the horses, Huey and the sheep had already formed a firm friendship. The two were inseparable, and Huey was very protective of his wooly little friend.
It didn’t make any sense in any sort of biological way. Friendship transcends science.
And it should be celebrated.
I read an article that proposed as a society we should spend less time in search of “the one,” and more time building our networks of friends.
This is not to say romantic relationships shouldn’t be cultured and rewarded. And Valentine’s Day can be the perfect time and opportunity to honor that love.
I’m simply proposing the day can be bigger than that. It can be the day when lovers write each other poems and spontaneously get each other the same gift.
It can also be the day a sheep and spotted horse proclaim value in their connection.
Love is love, and we are fortunate to find it in any form it comes. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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