For as long as I remember I have looked forward to Valentines day.
Even in years past when I've complained about it being a total greeting card holiday where people muster up enough courage to brave the aisles at Target in search for some stuffed animal that will probably be put in a box somewhere or cheesy cards that say the equivalent of, "Here's this card that I spend waaaay too much money on. Don't you feel how much I love you now?"
Okay, that sounds pretty cynical.
But to put things in perspective, my favorite part of Valentines day is not the gifts, the flowers or the store-bought cards that cost way too much.
No, my favorite thing about Valentines day are the memories that I have of my dad gathering my siblings and I together and giving us those boxes of candy hearts.
You see, he didn't just hand out the boxes and say, "Happy Valentines Day, now go play." Nope, he told us stories.
Awesome stories about how he managed to get those magical boxes of candy hearts.
The story changed every year. The last one I remember being about how he had to Macgyver his way through the store fighting other people to get those boxes.
He jumped over aisles and chased down villains all for the sake of getting those candy hearts for his kids.
I remember being so happy when it was time for dad to tell his story about how he managed to get the last five boxes for his beloved (and awesome, I mean c'mon) kids.
Even after I was about 7 and knew for sure that the stories weren't real and that my mom had actually picked them up while grocery shopping, it was still the best part of Valentines day.
My dad has always been a great storyteller. He used to tell us "Herby Green" stories to my siblings and I when we were little as a bedtime story.
In those stories we each had our own character, mine was Alyssa the Alligator.
In each story we would go on adventures and there would be a moral to every single one.
And the best part? At the end of every story Herby Green would "go to sleep" at the end of the day and my dad would start fake snoring REALLY loudly. Which of course made all of us yell at him to wake up and tell us more.
I'm really grateful for those memories. Those stories are the kind of stories I want to share with my kids some day.
That is why Valentines day is more than just getting candy or gifts for me. I will always remember those stories and how awesome it is that I have a dad that did that for us.
And that is my favorite Valentines day memory.