For many people, Valentine's Day marks a day during the year to celebrate their love for one another. And while something to the tune of that, happens around here, Valentine's marks the day when I chose to leave home 10 years ago tomorrow.
I speak of my parents often and typically when I do so I am actually speaking of Pat and Joelene who are not my biological parents. I left home 10 years ago after enduring years of abuse at the hands of my biological father and a mother who chose not to protect us.
The first few years after I left, Valentines Day was a painful reminder of our failure of a relationship and how wrong things were. The first few were marked by hateful letters by my biological father telling me how awful I was for this that and the other.
But the older I get, and especially now with a loving husband and wonderful munchkin, I get to celebrate Valentines Day as the wonderful commercial holiday that it is! ;) That's not to say I don't have some twinges of nervousness that tomorrow I'll recieve some hate mail. But each letter that gets sent affects me less and less. And Valentines Day can also be celebrated as the day I left home, survived the harsh things that had been a part of my prior life, and began learning to carve out my own way of doing things and loving those who are in my life now.
I don't have regrets in the least, but never thought that 10 years would pass since my leaving and things more or less remain the same: no relationship whatsoever. But its okay. I'm okay. I don't want pity. I wouldn't be where I'm at or who I am without going through it.
So on this Valentine's Day, remember not only the obvious people you love but the not so obvious ones that without their influence, you would not be the same.
SO on this Valentine's Day,
Thanks to Julie Cathy and Nikki who discovered my issues and made me realize it wasn't okay. Supported me through those first days, weeks, and months. P.S. I still have that teddy bear you gals gave me in the care package you gave me when I moved into the Mercy Home.(His name is Humphrey)
To Joelene, initially, who showed me I had options, and ultimately to her and Pat, who allowed me to move in when I had no where else to go, became the parents I never had and always needed. And to Adam and Andy, who let me become part of their family and never once said otherwise, put up with me and all my weird tendencies. You were the first "normal" family I had ever been around at a time when normal was at an all time low. And now as grandparents and uncles, you mean even more to me.
To Jeff. You are the first person who convinced me that love was unconditional even when I didn't think I deserved it. You opened my horizons on so many levels. (Drunk sledding anyone? j/k) I knew we were meant to be within weeks of meeting you. I'm glad you were on the same page! And we had the most incredible miracle, Avalon.
To Jean and Cecil. Where do I even start? You were the most laid back people I had ever met up until that point. And with the sorta crazy I came from, I needed that. (I still felt that way even after you threw a wood stove off the back porch) You still are the most laid back people I know. You offer the calm when I offer the crazy. Since, I met you, I always thought you were pretty great(and I'm not kissing ass Old Man) and now even more so as grandparents to the best munchkin ever. Plus you had some pretty great kids!
And, to Avalon. I absolutely knew love was unconditional when I had you. You are the greatest joy of my life.