Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Because I Love You All" (Still)...

I've received more than a few requests to re-post last year’s Valentine’s Day blog. I will do that, but I first needed to find out why it resonated with so many people. I re-read it, trying to recognize the person that wrote it. And I realized that the popularity of this post was that it had nothing to do with romance and everything to do with love. Let’s go back a year…

I was still living with my then husband in a house that was for sale, a marriage that was over and walls that separated our bedrooms. It was horrible. We had always celebrated Valentine’s Day with flowers, gifts and dinners out. Though we agreed to live together until the house sold, it took 10 long months from his request for a divorce, and this particular day was the hardest for me. A few days before the dreaded February 14th,  I suggested that since we obviously wouldn't be going out, maybe we could just order some Chinese and somehow get through the night. His reply was “No, I’m not celebrating Valentine’s Day with you.” In spite of the many previous verbal blows, this was a throat-punch I didn't see coming.

And then…the most amazing email came from my friend Judy that started with “Because I love you all”. She was throwing a Valentine’s Day dinner party to celebrate the love of family and friends. The only kind of love that can’t be ended by the banging of gavel. It was truly a game changer. When the night finally came, while my soon-to-be ex sat watching TV, I got up, showered, put on a low-cut red sweater, and left the house without saying a word. I so wanted the waft of perfume that he gave me to linger behind as if to say "I won't be celebrating Valentine's Day with you."...either. I had been drowning and Judy's invitation was just the life line I needed. I got in my car and felt the first wave of relief since this whole thing had started months before.

One year later, Judy's email comes for the second time and I am surviving and thriving on the love that surrounded me then, and still. I looked up the current divorce rate but quite frankly the statistics are too sad to report here. But it is no wonder why so many people need to find alternative reasons to celebrate Valentine's Day minus the flowers, candy and romantic dinners for two.

Don't get me wrong. I still believe in romance and will someday gladly except it back into my life...just not now.  I'm on a rather personal adventure of experiencing an independence I've never known, while still steadying a shaky equilibrium that comes from being blindsided. The downfall is that I sometimes question my own judgement. The upside is that I see so many loving relationships around me, I will in time give it another go. It's a precarious situation to be sure.

But, if last years Valentine post in someway helps you to regain your balance, I'm obliged and honored by the many request and will run it again. To the thousands of Kitchen Clatter readers, if you receive only one gift this Valentine's Day, I hope it is the ability to celebrate, appreciate and nurture love in any, and every, way that it comes to you. I'm so grateful for this gift and for the many people who fill my heart every day...

(Kitchen Clatter, February 12th, 2013) 
...“Because I love you all”, the email began, “I am having a Valentine’s Day dinner to celebrate our years together!”

What a lovely thought. Celebrating the love and warmth of friendship is a concept that is under looked. And Valentine’s Day may just be the day to do that. Since so many in our group are on the single side of cupid, February 14th is a day where it is so easy to look the other way for 24 hours. It took my friend Judy to see that all types of love should not only be recognized, but celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed as well.

Our group embodies the celebration of life itself. We have traveled the world together. Through the pubs of Ireland, the hills of the Tuscany countryside, the tapas bars of Spain, the wine vineyards of the Napa Valley to four-wheeling in the Alaskan mountains, we have laughed till we cried. And at times, we have cried till we laughed. It is the best kind of laughter. The break down the walls, kick the door open, change your underwear kind of humor that gets to us every time.

But even more important are the times when life is not so funny. The times when you need a friend to take your arm and guide you down an unknown path; it is certain that someone will step in and prevent the other one from hitting the ground face first. The presence of this friendship is a constant. It is a blessing I will be forever grateful for.

So with that in mind, I will take Judy’s advice this coming Valentine’s Day and celebrate all the loves of my life! To my sons, Trevor and Kyle who monopolize every chamber in my heart, and to the girls that they hold in theirs, to my sisters, who have proven their rock solid devotion over the last several months, to my brothers and their wives, who've been there even through the miles, to my nieces and nephews, all of whom I love as my own, I send the best that Valentine's Day has to offer. 

Through my friend, I have been reminded to celebrate life this Thursday and all of the different types of love that it encumbers. I will have dinner, drink wine and laugh, I'm sure. And I wish, the same for my family and friends, along with the ability to embrace all that your heart can hold...because I love you all.


  1. And the gift keeps coming!! Thank you Jess! Love goes right back at you!

  2. Yes! on Valentine's Day we should indeed celebrate life and friendship. It is a wonderful opportunity to share kindness and joy