Jeremy was never big on Valentine's day.
He didn't hate it. We didn't ban it. He just wasn't overly romantic. He tried to be, and did some very sweet things, but most of the time we were too broke to really do anything anyway. And yet, on this Hallmark holiday celebrating love, it brings those little moments rushing back as if it were a big deal. Cause he was a big deal to me.
Our first Valentine's, while we were still dating, I cut up hundreds of hearts and wrote different reasons why I loved him on each one. Every year after that, I re-used them in different ways, and would add more reasons why I loved him in the mix. I was thinking today that I'm not sure what I would add this year, because he's not evolving or changing anymore, I love him for all the same reasons. He is and forever will be the 31 year old, handsome and strong husband and father in my eyes. But then it also made me realize how much I have evolved and changed since then, and pieces of me that Jeremy will never get to see. And it made me wonder if he would love the girl I am now.
I don't love the way I used to. I'm more careful with it, but I also cherish it so much more. I'm more comfortable in my own skin. I actually enjoy cooking (who would have thought?!), and I know how to maintain a household pretty well on my own. I'm scared of things I didn't used to be scared of, and unafraid of things that used to terrify me. My support system has changed, my friends aren't the same. My priorities have shifted. My dreams and goals have evolved. Would you still love this version of me that has been beaten, broken down, and built back together?
Of course, I know the answer. Even though I'm not the same girl I was before he died, I know that essentially, emerging from grief has forced me to be a better version of myself....probably the version that Jeremy always saw in me. And even though I've grown for the better, I'm still me. I'm still the girl who has to sleep on the left side of the bed, who tries to please people too much, who quotes Friends in my head on a daily basis and then hears his laughter in the back of my head affirming how funny I am. I'm still the girl who wants Faith and Caleb to love the things their daddy loved, who cries at nearly every movie, and who holds onto all the precious and unforgettable quirks that he had. I'm still the girl terrified of fish, loves all things cotton candy, rollercoasters, pink, and slurpees. I'm still the girl that wants to tell our story. I'll always be that girl.
Yes, I am still convinced that no matter how much time separates us, no matter how much change comes between us, I would still be your Valentine.