The Love of Your Own Life

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

I do. I love me.

The day of love so many tend to loathe while others welcome the warm fuzzies with gigantic appetites that rival my admiration for wine.

The feel of Love Day for certain peeps.

As a kid, I carefully crafted a Valentine’s Day mailbox for school every year (you know, back when you could celebrate shit in school without the worry of the teeniest tiniest chance of offending someone). Students weren’t required to participate but I can’t remember when a kid didn’t. Everyone in class gave everyone a Valentine. If a kid didn’t have a Valentine’s Day box, my teacher always had an extra shoebox or two wrapped in red paper. No one was left out.

Will you be mine?

I was always lucky that I had a family who liked to celebrate everything, so no holiday was left out. Not even one that I often hear guys claim is “made up” for women to get gifts. (Well fellas, if you treated your gals “special” all the time, grand gesture days wouldn’t be needed, now would they? You could simply just get a well meaning card or write a note from the heart any day of the year but I digress). We’d wake up to little Valentines on our chairs at the kitchen table, maybe along with a box of chocolates. Always excited for the party to take place that day at school.

Fast forward to high school when the day of admiration became a sport of sorts.

If this high school Glamour Shot doesn’t make you want to be mine, I don’t know what fucking will.

The Honor Society sold carnations for a dollar and the members would drop the carnation off to your designated Valentine anonymously. Some peeps had armloads. Some had none. I just wanted a pink one.

Some girls got called to the office and paraded delivered – delivered in a vase and everything – flowers around school. It didn’t matter if it was from their dad, grandparents or boyfriend. I was one jealous bitch. Then, in an instant, that all changed.

Because I became that girl.

Oh hi. I got the flowers…and then some.

The Honor Society members delivered carnations during first period. I was in concert band every morning with my sweet silver Doc Severinsen trumpet at my side. Open flung the doors and our band instructor stopped our warm-up. A group of kids came in hauling carnations in large buckets for their soon-to-be owners. While I was hoping to get a flower or two, my eyes laid sight on the mother of all Valentine’s day hauls. A gigantic, white stuffed teddy bear with a red bow around its neck, holding a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. So enormous, you couldn’t see the person transporting it.

About as big as this dog I gifted Princess B a few years back.

I think I literally turned green with envy at whomever was going to be the recipient of this stuffed animal. I mean, I thought I would get a flower or two because my girlfriends and I always sent them back and forth. But this, this shit was different. This was the stuff that warm and fuzzy, cheesy as fuck Valentine’s memories were crafted.

Being in the brass of the band, I sat in the last row of the room. And I’ll be damned if that fucking bear didn’t inch its way closer and closer. I kept thinking…which girl had a boyfriend that sat near me. I couldn’t wait to see who was going to get the pristine bear.

As the hidden stuffed animal transporter walked behind me, I almost gave myself whiplash looking to my left. But to my unabashed chagrin, that motherfucker was lifted over my head and sat into my lap. Hershey’s fucking kisses and all. To this day, that is one of my best Valentine’s Days (which may seem a little sad since my day of love peaked in high school but I mean, it’s true).

And it didn’t come from a love interest. Or the non-existent boyfriend I had at the time. It came from a friend. From a best friend who (although didn’t take me to his senior prom and I will never, ever let him forget it) remains a bestie to this day.

Oh the bangs. On both of us.

The teddy bear came from Scooby.

We share a love of stuffed animals. Obvies.

Relationship game still on point today.

This gesture seemed like the grandest of all gestures in the universe at the time. All of these years later, it still does. My gay best friend gave me the best Valentine’s Day memory. Why? Because he didn’t have to do anything. But he loved me and wanted me to know. Isn’t that just a simple thing to do?

Grand gestures aren’t needed (but if any of you have a Louis Vuitton en route for delivery today, professing your love for me, I am not going to turn it down). A single flower is nice. A card will do. A simple text message. A smile, a hug, a thank you. Whether it’s love or like in today’s climate, bringing happiness to any and all of those around us isn’t really that hard. We just have to be kind to let one another know that we like – or even love – them.

If force dancing with your head taller than you female cousin at your uncle’s wedding isn’t a grand gesture of love, what is?

More importantly, regardless of whether we are madly in love with our kids…

I mean…

COME ON.

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our romantic partner…

Thank you boyfriends of yesteryears.

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our friends…

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our careers, jobs, co-workers….

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with extended family…

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our fur babies (which you all know I’m bat shit about)…

Regardless of what it is in your life that you love, be madly in love with your own authentic self first.

Yep. This about sums it up for me.

If you don’t love – let alone like – yourself as your own #1, no one will love the you who is meant to be loved.

Bitch, I’m a Queen. A Queen Bitch Supreme. And I know it.

Be your own damn Valentine.

Make some snacks.

Toast to yourself.

Appropriately colored libations required.

I’m taking myself out with First Mate tonight – same as we did last year – to not only toast to our love of one another but also to how bad ass we both are in our own right.

Now treat yourself to your version of a stuffed teddy bear this Valentine’s Day. You deserve it.

Be the love of your own damn life.

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

Babies Can Be Such Bitches

My kid clock hasn’t started ticking and I’m not all that upset about it (Stop with the judgement. I like your kids and don’t mind being around them. I’m just thrilled they’re yours. Especially when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs in Target, have snot running down their nose, smell of sewer due to a dirty diaper, need to go to the ER at 3am due to being sick for the 13th time this year, require one to get up at the ass crack of dawn, etc….).

This duo of messy cuteness?

This duo of messy cuteness? I’ll let you clean them up.

However this year, I have acquired twins – a niece and nephew that I couldn’t love anymore if they were my own (for the love of Christ, no one tell Teddy).

Being that I’m 1,000 miles away from them, I try to buy their love from afar by sending them presents (this tactic always works with kids under one year, right?). I am sure to send two separate packages (on the same day), as I don’t want anyone getting pissy with having to share (plus, I remember how my sister and I made sure everything was EVEN as kids).

Upon receiving my gift in Iowa, I got this text and following photos from my sister:

B got the cutest star vest in the mail today! She loves it.

This coat hurts

Obviously.

On and on and on

This seriously must be the heaviest vest in the history of the world.

My response:

Dammit! The mailman was supposed to deliver two packages on the same day! I was promised at the counter when I mailed them!

Sister:

Don’t worry. I just told her brother that you don’t love him as much.

Well I felt really screwed over (someone has to take the blame) by the lying USPS. How must my sweet nephew feel about his Auntie CBXB forgetting him?

The following morning I received this from my sister:

You do love B! He’s much more appreciative!

You're welcome

Score!

Happy

Somebody’s love can be bought by Auntie CBXB!

Upon seeing the pics, I realized that I’d sent my nephew two things vs. Bawl Baby’s single star vest.

Me: He’s so welcome! Please don’t tell Little Miss Diva that her brother got two things. PLEASE.

Sister: Too late. She knows!!

She knows.

Keeping tabs already…

I rebounded quickly, telling my sister to remind my niece B of the Tiffany’s bracelet she received from her dear old auntie when she was baptized (while all brother B got a big hug and smooch).

Did someone mention a little blue box?

Did someone mention a little blue box? All is good in the ‘hood now!

Babies can be such bitches – especially when they take after their drama queen aunts.

CBXB

CBXB!

The Fugly Duckling

I always admired a duck that I gave to my Gma for her birthday when I was about four years old. My mom told me that I could pick anything out in the only jewelry store in the tiny Iowa town where I was raised and I selected the most beautiful piece of poultry that my young eyes had ever seen.  I mean, what’s not to love about a greenish, purplish, blueish, yellowish, its color depends-on-the-kind-of-light you hold it in (my motto of the gaudier the better began at birth, apparently) four-inch duck figurine?

You know you want one too. Admit it.

I assumed that Gma absolutely adored this duck. She kept it in her china hutch for as long as I can remember, prominently (I clearly mistook for proudly) displayed on the front shelf and every time she caught me peering at it through the fancy glass doors, she’d remind me that I gave her that bird. When she moved to a new address and sold the duck’s hutch home, she moved its nest to the top of her TV.

As Gma has gotten older, she downsized her square footage and began weeding out her ‘pretties’ (as she calls them).  And the gift givers have received their presents of past back (I now own a frame with “Best Grandma Ever” engraved on its front and a magnet that says “Home is where your Grandma is,” – lucky me). Because of her love of the birthday duck, I was shocked when it was one of the chosen pretties she handed to me a few years ago.

Take your duck and shove it.

Take your duck and shove it.

Never one to mince words, Gma said “that’s the ugliest damn duck I ever saw,” (I now see where I inherited my bluntness) and put it into a box for me. Wondering why in the hell she ever kept the ugly duckling in exhibition for decades, as I went to set it next to her picture in my mini manse it dawned on me.  She kept the heinous bird out for the same reason I’m keeping it on my beautiful mirrored dresser (where the duck sticks out like a quack in a pack of meows) – it reminds me of her.  It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

She still has to tolerate the damn bird, as it taunts her picture daily!

So as Gma turns 90 years old today in Iowa, the ugly duckling and I (and of course, Teddy) will be toasting our Skinny Pirates in celebration of her feistiness (and the fact that the f’ing duck never got sold at a garage sale since she thought it was so unsightly).

Happy Birthday to one helluva lady!

CBXB

CBXB!