Sixteen-some years ago (give or take a few, because my simple math skills suck), I met this girl. I thought she was cute and all, but to be honest, I was a little turned off because she started hitting on me before we had memorized one another’s names. Okay, before I could remember her name (she memorized the previous year’s yearbook). For the record, her name was Candace. In any case, it wasn’t until a dare that we ended up dating. Yes, a dare. Though, let’s be honest: neither of us felt forced into it.
After a lot of crazy ups and downs, we went off to different colleges out of state. Then, we’d see each other at church, or hanging out with mutual friends. That typically resulted in us hooking up. The hookup, naturally, resulted in some sort of fight, and we’d go back to school pissed at one another. This went on for another four or five years.
Finally, she verbally and psychologically kicked my ass. But in a good way. I was sort of a d-bag at the time, Candace called me on it, and I deserved it. So, we got married.
That’s right. I married her because she kicked my ass.
That’s one of the many reasons I love her. Candace tells me how it is, and lets me know when I’m out of line. Don’t get me wrong &emdash; she’s not a nag, or high maintenance (in the classical sense). She just wants me to be the best I can be, and won’t settle for anything less.
But, a big part of not settling is being on my side. She’s my cheerleader. More often than not, all I need is encouragement, and knowing that I’m on the right track. She does that. A lot. Way more than the ass kicking.
This last year or so has been a rough one for me. There’s been a lot going on that quickly ran me into the ground. When I get ovewhelmed, I retreat. Like an ostrich, I shove my head in the sand. Or, I turtle-up into my shell. Candace wouldn’t let me do that. For that, I am thankful. Somehow, she always knew exactly what I needed, and when I needed it. Most of the time, it was encouragement and cheerful pressure. But there were times when I needed to get told off, and she did so with grace and tact. Always the right thing at the right time. Never demeaning or condescending &emdash; which is the important part.
That’s my Valentine. My ass-kicking cheerleader.
I love you, sweetheart, and I wouldn’t have anyone else in the world.