Celebrating Love & Loss

Valentine's DayThe gift of love is in the eye of the beholder. It presents itself in many different ways all year long. Love changes, as life changes. Our celebration of love changes too.

When you become a parent it is a new kind of love. An unconditional love that most did not know was possible.

What matters most at any given moment is relevant to that person, that moment.

We are so grateful for Julie for sharing her personal journey of love and loss of her child. The power of love between her and Todd is incredible for their son and each other.


Julie’s Love Story

My husband and I have been together for almost 18 years. I was only 14 when we met, so it was a very slow moving relationship. By the time I was 17 we knew that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, but of course, were far too young to do anything about it yet. We got engaged when I was 20 and married after I graduated college at 22.

So, how has Valentine’s Day changed over the course of our relationship? When you’re high school sweethearts Valentine’s Day is a big deal. It’s fun to get all dressed up, go out to a fancy dinner and feel grown up for the evening. Isn’t it funny though, that when you actually do grow up that sounds like no fun at all!

Todd and I are old souls, we were never partiers and our idea of wild was…well…who am I kidding we didn’t even pretend to be wild. By the time I was in college our ideal night was cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie after a late night Sheetz and Blockbuster run for delicious snacks and to rent a movie. (Back in the day when you didn’t have access to thousands of movies at your fingertips.) I remember one Valentine’s Day we didn’t even consider braving the crowds at the fancy restaurants and just went to Arby’s. After having kids it changed a little bit. Getting out of the house was a bit more appealing, so we took our son to my mom’s house and went to Burger King. It requires little effort, but for tired new parents it felt like a big night out.

Then one May, our life changed forever when we were in a car accident and our son was taken from us. The following Valentine’s Day I made reservations for dinner at a fancy restaurant, we got all dressed up and did the whole shebang. Some people thought that that was strange, but I told Todd that if there was one thing that we had to celebrate that year it was that we still had each other. We were all in that car, one of us could have easily been left all alone…but we weren’t. Losing a child is one of the hardest things any parent could go through, but Todd got me through it. If I had lost them both I don’t know what I would have done. So that Valentine’s Day, after months of grief, I was celebrating that I still had the love of my life sitting across from me at that table.

Since then we’ve pretty much gone back to the simple Valentine’s Days. It is nice to have an excuse to go out to dinner alone, but over the top isn’t necessary for us. How has Valentine’s Day changed for you and your significant other over the years, especially since having kids?

Let’s celebrate love everyday, not just because it’s Valentine’s Day.