If you and I are friends on Facebook or if you follow me on Instagram, you are more than familiar with my #everydayisvalentinesday hashtag. You see, one day, when I least expected it, love happened.
Tory and I first met in 1987, when I started junior high. A few years later, we became closer friends during my freshman year, his junior year. We were BFFs the next year, and in the time before email, My Space, and Facebook, we were pen pals when he went to college. My senior year, I broke up with my boyfriend two days before prom, and Tory came back and took me.
Then I went to college in Virginia, he started working full time and going to school, and after the summer of 1994, we kind of lost touch.
Fast forward 21 years to 2015, we reconnected. We had both split from our spouses, and we both had children. We met for lunch one day, only expecting to catch up with an old friend, but we soon realized that there was much more to our unfinished story.
Having a relationship that is based in this deep friendship, caring, and genuine love for each other (you should read what I wrote in his yearbook senior year. #humiliating.) is amazing. We love each other’s family, and we love each other’s children as our own. When we started posting pictures on social media, all of our friends from back in high school were so happy for us. And soon, #everydayisvalentinesday was born. Pictures graced our feeds from restaurants, Christmas parties, the beach, volleyball games, Angel games, Disneyland. Jen told me once that it’s like we’re living in our twenties again. And you know what, it is. Christmas Eve is even Valentine’s Day.
But before I continue to gush, let me be clear. We are not perfect. Life is also tough. We both have major things in our past that affect our everyday lives. We cry. And bleed. And our hearts break. Through custody battles, court dates, money issues, going back to work, we have made a pact: we will get through it…. together.
Now, in my 40s, I don’t want what Valentine’s Day means for most people: big gestures professing one’s love, on one day of the year. The #everydayisvalentinesday that is in my life now is the feeling that is supposed to lie beneath all those flowers and chocolates and fancy necklaces. I don’t want the prince in the shining castle. No, give me the farmer who smells like the earth, works his fingers to the bone, and has the scars to prove it. Tory is Ride or Die. And I will Ride or Die for him. He is devoted to me in a way that I have never experienced before. Our Valentine’s Days are filled with electrical work on the house, with sewing curtains for our kitchen. Valentine’s Days are when we’re sick and lie on the couch. They are days when we meet our parents for breakfast then shop at Costco.
One #everydayisvalentinesday we even got married.
Our Valentine’s Days celebrate our accomplishments, but they are also when we lose our battles. Because when you let go of ego, when you are honest not only with your partner, but with yourself, when you bear your soul, and when your partner does the same, #lovewins and #everydayisvalentinesday.