Happy Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day.  Today I taught my students the words to Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called To Say I Love You.    It’s such a catchy tune.  I love that song for the mere fact that it sends a message that you don’t just have to say “I Love You” when it is Valentine’s Day or on special occasions.  You can say those three words every day, or as Stevie Wonder sang it on any “ordinary day.”  My students loved the song and a few students asked me for a copy of the words so they could sing it after school.  Another one of my students came up to me after we learned it and said, “I just want to sing that song a million times.”  🙂  I thought that was cute.  Love is my 2014 word of the year.  Any time I can spread love is great!

Today, especially, love is visible in the commercial items that you can buy in many stores.  Flowers, cards, and balloons are given and received.  I am happy there is a day devoted to my word.  But, it is equally important to keep giving love all year round.  It’s just like the Beatles sang, ” The love you take is equal to the love you make.”  To get love you have to give it.  That’s why I was tickled when I took my daughter to her orthodontist appointment.  The assistant asked me if I wanted to pick a heart sticker out of her bucket.  My daughter was looking at me like, “No way!”  I thought, “Sure!”  I put my hand in the bucket and pulled out a heart.  Guess what it said?  LOVE.  I thought, “Perfect!”

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Happy Valentine’s Day to all lovers in the world.  Don’t forget to say I love you often.

Remembering Dad

February is the month of love.  I am not just talking about Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month of my wedding anniversary.  On February 11th, my husband and I celebrated 19 years of being married.  We went out for a lovely dinner for two and we reminisced about our wedding day.  Here’s a picture of us on that special day.  Boy, we look young.  🙂

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There are so many wonderful memories associated with this month of February, but these are overshadowed by another memory.  This happens to be the month my dad passed away.  In fact, it was 9 years ago today that my father died.  So, I wanted to take this opportunity to write about the first man in my life. . .my father.

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Lots of people say I take after my dad.  They say we look very much alike.  My mom used to say we had the same personality.  If you said that we were both passionate, emotional people, then I would tend to agree.  However, my mom said that we shared the same stubborn streak and that we had the same fiery, Filipino temperament.  She said we were both “hot-headed.”  I like to think we were just spirited and energetic.

Growing up, my dad was always away.  He was in the United States Navy and seemed to be on deployment all the time.  It was tough when he would come home, especially when we were little.  It was like we had to get to know him all over again.  As soon as we did, he would be gone on another trip overseas.

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My dad was very set in his ways.  He liked peace and calm. He would get angry if my siblings and I were getting too rambunctious.  We were afraid of his temper back then.  As we got older, we realized my dad was a big teddy bear.  He seemed to mellow out with age.  Things didn’t upset him too much, except when the San Diego Chargers, or the San Diego Padres, or the Chicago Bulls (during the Michael Jordan years) lost their games.  My mom was fearful of his blood pressure getting too high or that he would have a heart attack.  Yet, another example of our similar personalities.  My husband and children know better than to talk to me after a Charger loss.  🙂    I will argue that it was Dad’s passion and love of the game coming out at these times.

2002 Dad

Even though my dad wore his emotions on his sleeve while watching a ball game, he hardly ever expressed his love for us outwardly.  I think it was just his generation.  My sister, brother, and I knew he loved us without having to say it out loud to us.  He showed it everyday in the way he provided for us.  He retired from the Navy and the U.S. Postal Service just so we could have a better life.  My dad’s work proves that love.  I am reminded of the song, by Reba McEntire called The Greatest Man I Never Knew.  I cannot listen to this song without getting emotional.  But, that is just the way my dad was.

As I am reminded of my 2014 word of the year (love), I think about this month and how it encompasses that word.  And, I think about my dad who I loved very much.  I remember all the sacrifices he made and all the things he helped me achieve.  I remember all the fun things we did, like singing karaoke together and dancing at my wedding.  I wonder if he can see me and see what I have become.  I wish everyday that he were still here to give me advice and to watch his grandchildren grow.  He was the first man in my life, and I miss him very much.

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