|“I want you for my Valentine,
So herewith I will shout it.
And now the question’s up to you,
What will you do about it?”
Today I’m taking a break from the usual family stories of the past that typically appear here. (Warning: it gets more sentimental than usual. If you are family, you’ll have to stick this out. If you’re not family, feel free to read something else.)
Today, I want to focus on a story of the present. It is the story our family is creating right now.
This is an open letter to my family – my husband, our sons and our daughter, the most important people in my life.
C., when we declared our love for each other before God all those years ago, we couldn’t have imagined how much deeper and stronger our love would grow with each passing year. You are the love of my life. I’m so glad we get to grow old together.
I love you for too many reasons to list here, but I’ll give it a go: for your kindness; the softness of your voice; the way you share your hopes and dreams; for accepting me the way I am, flaws and all; the tender way you melt at the sight of a child or a puppy; your incredible patience; and the way you make people feel special. I love you for the wonderful life we have together with our children.
Thank you for believing in me, for always being my best friend, for making me laugh until my sides hurt, and for making each day end on a happy note. Thank you for your love in good times and in bad, for reminding me that things would get better when they seemed they could not get worse, and for the little things you do to make me feel special. Thank you for being a loving father, for being considerate and gentle with our family, and most of all, as we share this journey of wonder and devotion, for giving me your heart. You will always have mine.
To our children, M., K. and E.: we thank God for sending you into our lives. What immeasurable joy you have brought to Dad and me!
My precious M.: Your passion for seeking knowledge and truth and virtue is truly astonishing. You set high standards for yourself and go to great lengths to achieve them. I wish I had your self-discipline!
Your mind is analytical mind, which draws people to you. You challenge us to step out of our comfort zones and think in new ways, all the while infusing our conversations with your humor and zest for language and argument. But your soul is sentimental, and your big heart is the reason everyone loves you so. You are fiercely proud and protective of our family. I really love that about you, because it shows your tenderness and goodness.
My dear K.: You are a spiritual person with a heart of gold, always ready to fly to someone’s aid without a second thought. You have the wisdom of an old soul. You are bright and articulate yet humble. You continue to amaze me with your many interests and talents. You are our Renaissance Man, ever expanding your skills and knowledge as you strive for excellence. You excel at so many things; maybe that’s why it’s a challenge to concentrate on a single one. Whatever you do and wherever you go, be sure to follow your heart. You will enrich the lives of those around you and be rewarded with the happiness and love that makes life worthwhile.
And my sweet daughter E.: You have always been full of surprises, jumping headlong into life and loving the adventure it brings. In everything you do, even through rough seas, you show confidence and daring as you navigate your way in your own inimitable style. Your contagious laughter is one of the many things that draws people to you, but what keeps them close is your loyalty and devotion.
You are insightful and have a strong sense of justice. You are diligent and determined to achieve your goals, and I know you’ll make a difference in the world. Take the unknown gradually. Don’t fear vulnerability. Instead try to understand and embrace it so it can make you stronger. Always believe in yourself, and let the love in your heart shine. And know that Dad and I love you and believe in you, too.
We are not a perfect family. We have no trouble sharing our differences of opinion and philosophy. Our house is not always neat. Now and then, our life can seem mundane. We lose things a lot. We repeat ourselves. We make mistakes. We operate on different schedules and body clocks and have very different tastes in food.
But those things are small when you think about what we do right. We come together to share meals and watch movies and celebrate special occasions. Our hearts are in the right place. We agree to disagree, though it is not always easy. We are there for each other in times of trouble, as strong as a bundle of sticks. We swallow our pride and say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.” And when we go somewhere, we call each other to say we arrived safely and share a heartfelt “I love you.”
Thank you for loving me when I am not very lovable, for showing me that happiness is being together, for teaching me patience (over and over and over again). Thank you for eating my dinners when they are less than stellar, for making those garden jazz brunches on Mother’s Day, for listening to me ramble on about our family tree, for your funny cards, and for putting up with my own mushy ones, filled with x’s and o’s.
These are the good times and this is our story – our wonderful work in progress. We will write many chapters, some better than others, some together and others apart. How do we want it to go from here? What will we remember about this story years from now? If nothing else, let it be the running theme of our love for each other through thick and thin.
I want you to know, on Valentine’s Day, that you mean the world to me, that I’ll love you forever, and that you’ll always have each other, even after I’m gone. Never forget this, my loves!
These lines can express only a fraction of my love for each and every one of you. My life would not be the same without you, my Heaven-sent treasures. You are my blessings.
I love you with all my heart.
Copyright © 2013 Linda Huesca Tully