Young children are now busy decorating cardboard mailboxes or kraft paper mailbags in anticipation of special deliveries for Valentine’s Day. Even at a tender age, we learn the excitement in the possibility of someone giving us a Valentine card that might let us know we are a little more special to them than some other classmates.
Love, in many forms, is an important driver in our lives from the very start. From the love God has for each of us, to the love that is showered upon us by our parents and siblings from the day we are born, its influence is early and significant. From grade school age, we encounter our first images of romantic love, whether it’s a Disney princess movie or watching our own parents’ interactions. Children, much to the delight and sometimes chagrin of their parents, love to model adult behavior. In fact, one of my husband’s favorite Valentine’s Day memories is of his parents taking him to the homes of two kindergarten classmates to hand deliver Valentine’s cards and chocolates to each of the girls.
Once we finish with our childish ways, we move on to more serious commitments like weddings. What a glorious time in the life of a family! Weddings today come in all styles and sizes and the ceremonies and receptions that follow are often more personalized than ever before. We showcase two local weddings in our annual Brides Guide in this issue starting after page 48. Throughout the book, you also will see additional pages of wedding portraits of brides and grooms who were married in 2012, further reflecting the variety of styles for ceremonies.
For those of us who are married, we know after the wedding is when the fun and challenges will inevitably occur. Beginning on page 30, we profile four wonderful couples who have been married many years and share with us how they make it work each day and through the years.
The health of your heart is tied to our relationships as well as diet, exercise and heredity. February is Heart Month and is a time to focus on how to keep this vital organ healthy for you and your family. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States and claims nearly 1 million men and women every year. Many of our area hospitals offer free or low cost screenings and educational events this month so you and your family can learn more.
As we celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, treasure your relationships with family and friends—it will help to keep your heart healthy and your life rich.