click the links below to read about Valentine’s Day on the road 2010 and 2012
Six years ago today, your mother and I celebrated Valentine’s day by climbing the cliff at the south shore of Playa Mizata in El Salvador to watch the sun set into the ocean. Four years ago today, we celebrated this day of love by reaching the pinnacle of the Annapurna Circuit high in the Himalayas during the most physically and mentally grueling day of our lives. And today, our first Valentine’s with our sweet little man, we spent the day playing in the sand next to the crashing waves, being chased by a giant Spider Monkey, and strolling in the cool evening breeze helping you find the moon between the shifting clouds. Asher, my affectionate little man, there are many reasons why your mother and I have been madly in love for more than ten years now.
Memories. After money issues, boredom is one of the most common cited problems within a marriage. Asher, by living a life of adventures together, your mom and I are constantly making new memories together. We have turned our backpacking travel trips into hardbound coffee table books and we read from them together most evenings, recalling the special moments that now occupy a permanent corner of our collective memory. Part of the reason why I love your mom more today than ever is because our stockpile of memories together continues to grow. We are long past the “butterflies” stage of our relationship, but the excitement and passion still thrives when we reach new milestones and challenge barriers together. Novelty is a necessary ingredient to romantic love.
Time. Your mom and I really want to have a nice vegetable garden and we start one every year at the camp but usually get dismal results. Typically, the only plants that thrive are the weeds. We are well aware that we are too busy at the camp to tend the garden and if we want it to flourish, we need to dedicate more time. This is no different than relationships. By spending our summers together at the camp and taking sabbaticals from work for extended travel, your mom and I have made it a priority to spend a lot of quality time together. We are surprised with the number of backpackers who are travelling while their partner is at home and who say, “we could never spend that much time together.” For us, it is the very reason that we are together which makes our moments more special. Asher, just like a garden, relationships need time and care in order to flourish and to keep the weeds at bay.
Acts of Service. Your mom and I have been witness to many examples of selfless giving which has showed us that love is the space where the well-being of another person is essential to our own happiness. Your mom and I both know that we will do anything for the other and we express our gratitude often. When viewed from the right frame of mind, acts of service like making meals and washing cloth diapers by hand, day in and day out, are not burdens but opportunities to serve, to put others first, to express love.
Asher, as you grow up, I have but a few hopes for you: that you will take seriously the great responsibility of your mental and physical health, that you will have the opportunity to be creative in your life’s work, and that you will find someone to love as much as I love your mother. Someone to make memories with, to spend time with, and someone who you will walk to the ends of the earth for and return with sore feet but a smile on your face.