“Love Is In The Air” John Paul Young 1977

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

“Love is in the air, in the rising of the sun… Love is in the air, when the day is nearly done…”

Are you feeling the love this week? I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Do you have a special Valentine? I have many! Remember as kids in grade school when you decorated those plain white “lunch bags” with paper hearts and cupids? And waited anxiously for valentines to be put in them? Oh and hoped for that special one? I remember taking my kids to get their valentines for school. My son loved the sports themed ones, Power Rangers, and Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. And of course my girls loved anything with Disney Princesses – Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan. This year I only sent one Valentine – to my sweet momma. I wrote special Valentine letters to my children.

Got any fun plans for Valentine’s Day? I am continuing my SOLO traditional Valentine’s Day fun – a movie and dinner with my favorite SOLO person!

“I hope you remember that love isn’t just found in a significant other.”

There is a quote that has resonated with me over the last 3 years: “If someone is stupid enough to walk away from you, be smart enough to let them go.” I was smart enough to let go. Yes, love with a significant other is wonderful if you truly find your soul mate, but there is love and fun to be found in many relationships. This week (and month) always reminds me how much love there is to go around. Family, for one. I am so thankful for my family – my sweet momma for starters. I am blessed with 2 wonderful sisters who I love dearly (and my brother-in-law) and have fun with them every visit. We always have a group text going that keeps us in stitches. And of course Sweet Jack and his parents! And y’all know how crazy I am about my kids, and I believe they feel the same about me. I love being with them as adults. They make me so proud and are great fun to hang out with. Remember last week’s blog centered on the time spent with my older daughter? Well, last weekend it was with my younger daughter, who asked me to go to lunch with her at Three Notch’d Brewery so we could watch the UNC-Miami game together at noon. The host, also a Carolina fan, found us perfect seats at the bar to watch the game. Spread out our bar time, starting with their great pretzel bites, a beer for my daughter and a mule for me (their beers are too “hoppy” for me). Lunch of salads. And a Carolina victory… barely! I needed to work for a few hours so my daughter suggested we get dinner and watch the UVA-Duke game later at my house. And catch a few episodes of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. She brought some little cans of Crose (famous rose wine in a can from King Family Vineyard) and I made sweet potato fries and special hotdogs that a friend sent me from Omaha Steaks. What a perfect day and evening!

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

But it did not end there y’all. My daughter has wanted to take me to a special winery she visited with a friend, and suggested we go Sunday. I picked her up at 11 and we headed to Gabriele Rausse, a small winery open only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays to avoid crowds. If you are ever in Charlottesville, you need to visit this quaint winery on a Sunday before 1:00 to experience their wine tasting with food pairing. The food pairing changes weekly and is cooked right there by the winemaker. They paired 6 delicious wines with four small plates and y’all, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was! Warm homemade sourdough bread with olive oil, sweet potato gnocchi, boiled egg with salsa verde, and the best lemon square I have ever put in my mouth. I loved all of their wines, and left with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Followed this winery with a tasting and a glass of wine at Cunningham Creek Winery. Had the most fun woman handling our tasting – she even slipped us the best dark chocolate with all the reds we tasted. Not yet ready to call it a day, we stopped by one more on our way back to town, Wineworks Extended, for a flight of wine. Also good, but absolutely my limit! Another fun Sunday with one of my loving kids. (By the way, my younger daughter always jokes with her sister and brother that she “has mom now” and they get me in my later years! Well, I think she is joking!)

But what other love is there? So much! Girlfriends for one. Every female needs a “tribe” of friends. When I first found myself SOLO, I thought about moving somewhere besides Charlottesville. But one of my dear girlfriends said I could not leave “my tribe”. She was so right! I am so thankful for my girlfriends, and for their sweet husbands who treat me like family. I am blessed to have girlfriends close by, and far away – distance does not matter. As one of my “far away” girlfriends told me this week, “we are connected at the heart.” So true. And I treasure these relationships. Whether it be a text, phone call, email, lunch, dinner, glass of wine, visit, or just a walk together, you can always count on girlfriends. Distance, nor time between visits, can ever change a relationship with girlfriends.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell

So Happy Galentine’s Day TODAY! Wait, what, you ask?  “Oh it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” Famous words from another blonde Leslie, Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec.

“A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself.”

I learned since becoming SOLO that loving yourself is very important. This is the one person you will spend the rest of your life with, so you better be happy with yourself. It’s not the easiest thing to do when life makes you doubt everything you thought was true. Surround yourself with loving people. I had a big group of “cheerleaders”  (figuratively and literally!) making sure I kept my head above water. Don’t wait to lose weight, change jobs, move, or find a mate to love yourself. Look in the mirror. You need to love yourself before you can love someone else. Stop and look at the wonderful people and accomplishments in your life. Look at YOUR special grace, talents, and kindness towards others. Realize your self-worth. BE the person you know you can be. And love yourself and your life, because it is yours. You are blessed!

“Loving yourself starts with liking yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways.”

So appreciate all the love in your life – your family, your friends, and yourself, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Valentine roses from my favorite man (my wonderful son!) a day early so I can enjoy them longer!

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” Lucille Ball

Best,

Leslie

PS  The Hallmark Channel is having a “LOVE” marathon of movies starting at 2 pm tomorrow (Valentine’s Day). Also, they are showing a Christmas movie EVERY Friday night! WOOHOO! And always a new movie on Saturday night! But if you are NOT feeling the love, I also saw this if you have an ex: “Looking to get yourself a present this Valentine’s Day? The El Paso Zoo has you covered. It will name a cockroach after your ex and then feed it to a meerkat live on camera.”

 

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