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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Day...

Valentines Day... an annual hallmark holiday to express your love to the ones you, love.
Yes, in essence a little cheesy... but in total honesty, I love it :)
Before kids, Valentines Day was a little more, lets say, romantic. You know, dinner out, candles...all that stuff.
Now, it looks a little dinner, but we have more love to share. Tonight, I am cooking us a nice dinner at home. The 5 of us will relax and eat...and then hopefully the kids will go to bed early. That would be a perfect evening; with our kids however, highly unlikely. I am still hopeful!
I have to say though, that my husband still has a romantic side...3 kids and 12.5 years later. I got a knock on the door to a huge beautiful bouquet of flowers this morning. We still honour Valentines Day, in our own...new way.

Valentines Day definition as per Wikipedia:
"Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day,[1][2][3] is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in theHigh Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").[1][3]
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[4]"

Valentines Day falls in February, as we all know; February is also Heart Month thru the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Many of us are somehow effected by Heart month. Heart attacks and Stroke take the lives of 1 in 3 Canadians AND it is the NUMBER ONE killer in woman. This is a very scary statistic: yet very real.

My family has been touched all too closely with heart disease. One being my own Dad.
The summer of 1999 was a one to remember. For me, it was the summer I met my now husband Ryan, the summer before my graduating year in High School...and the summer we almost lost my Dad to a heart attack. To all that know my Dad, he is not one you would look at "assuming" heart attack was prevalent. He is a very fit man; tall and slender. Not your average..."stereotype," for lack of a better picture.
The day it happened was a day my siblings and I were actually hiking the Grind with him. My brother and Dad in the lead...then me...then sister. This was a stage in life when our parents were not our priorities or too cool to hang out with, nor was much physical activity. I must admit, my dad PAID us this summer to work out with him once a week for the 2 months. I look back on that now, and shutter...but I guess a 16 year old high school girl, in love with the new man in her life, left little room for much else.
When I got to the top of the mountain that day, my life definitely changed forever. My brother and I returning to where he had thought he left my dad...instead having a worker inform us we were to all head home and my mom will fill us in when we get there, was not the type of news you were waiting for at the finish of the Grouse Grind. But we did just that.
We later saw my Dad in the hospital. A very lucky day for us all. Yes, he had a heart attack. Yes he flat-lined. Yes, we narrowly escaped losing our Dad. I am thankful everyday that Heart Disease did not take my dad that summer day. That we are still able to have a Dad in our lives. And that our kids have a Gramps.
At the time, I was still a very self-centered 16 year-old girl. I didn't understand nor stop to think long enough about what had actually happened. It all sank in years following. As I grew. As family began to mean more to me again. As I got out of the m-e and into the f-a-m-i-l-y. I am very fortunate for the family I have and the relationships we all have with one another. We have had our fare shares of ups and downs; probably more than a lifetime needs! But I am thankful that I had a second chance to show my Dad how grateful I am for him. For the person he is: the Dad he is: the Gramps he is: the friend he is.

Not all people are as fortunate. Heart disease takes lives. On this "love" day, show a little "heart" by a donation maybe...instead of that box of chocolates!? Doesn't have to be much. But with statistics like 1 in 3...i think its time for a change. Today I am thinking of "Heart Day" in a slightly different way: Lucky and Thankful for those special people in my life.

And on a lighter note, to all of you, Happy Valentines Day!, in whatever form you chose to celebrate :)

On route to Run the NYC marathon 2008. My Dad inspired my brother and I to run with him.

A Family trip to Italy...the grandkids came too :)

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