Did you know Valentine’s Day is a shared holiday with National Ferris Wheel Day and National Organ Donor Day! I guess they can all be attributed to love, but for those of you who are looking for something to celebrate other than V-day, there you go!
For our family, not only February 14th Valentine’s Day, it’s also the birthday of someone very special. My Grandfather, Wayne Morrell, has always shared his birthday with this LOVEly holiday. For as long as I can remember, on Valentine’s Day evening, we’ve gathered at my grandparents house, all dressed in red to celebrate the patriarch of our family while the little ones ran through the house passing out valentines to all the cousins. It’s a tradition I may have not fully appreciated throughout my dating years but now it’s more special than all those dates put together.
Tonight is that night again. However this year, it will not just be our family, around 100 people will be joining us to celebrate my Granddaddy’s 90th birthday! Although we are all excited to honor him in this big way, it is a bittersweet moment because this will be the first birthday not orchestrated by my Granny... and his valentine.
On this Valentine’s Day, I’m grateful for the love I have with Jay and the life he leads us to live. I’m grateful for my parents and their example of commitment and sacrifice. But I’m overwhelming grateful my grandparents showed us by example what true love is.
True love does not happen by accident. It’s done on purpose, every day. It happens when each person lives their life with the other in mind. It happens when Christ is in the center. It happens when you stay committed in the mundane, dry, and difficult. It happens when you enjoy the blissful and romantic. And it happens when you continually care more about the last day of your marriage than the first.
My grandparents lived this. I’ve heard my Granddaddy say too many times to count his daily prayer was that he would stay healthy and strong long enough to take care of Granny until her last breath. God honored his selfless prayer.
I’ve watched him give up things he was passionate about the past few years so he could stay near to her and their home. I’ve seen him smile and bite his tongue when she, as most of us wives do, would still complain about how much he was gone. I’ve seen him leave post-it notes on the table when he left for an errand telling her he loved her and would be back soon. I’ve watched my Granny ask each of us on her death bed to “make sure Wayne has something to eat when I’m gone now.” They always considered the other before themselves.
Now that Granny is gone, I wish I would have noticed more and learned more from them. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary last year before she passed away. Jay and I have written that down as one of our life goals; we want to leave that kind of legacy to our grandkids and great-grandkids as Granny & Granddaddy have done for us.