If you told me on our first Valentine’s Day that we’d still be together 17 years later, I would have been thrilled. If you told me we’d have 4 kids, I’d be shocked. If you told me I’d be living in an RV and traveling the country with him and those 4 kids, I’d tell you to go away, you drunk.

I worked at a sports bar back then. I said that to a lot of drunks.

Life is stranger than fiction and drunks.

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We spent our 17th Valentine’s Day together with our rowdy litter of children in Valentine, Texas. Because when you find out that Valentine’s in Valentine, TX is a thing and it’s happening down the (40 mile) road from you, you go.

*Sidenote- I only knew this was a thing because someone told me about it on Instagram! So if you ever have suggestions of places for us to go or things for us to experience, please let us know! We are totally open to suggestions.

And what I loved and really wish I could convey, but I’m sure words will fail, was just how it felt like the most perfect unplanned magic- like the kind you could never, ever manufacture.

It was just a bunch of food trucks and some twinkle lights and some live music in a patch of dirt and sticker burs, lined on one side with porta potties, and outside an old mercantile store building, in a city with no businesses to charge tax, so the admission fees go to support the local school.

It was hosted by Big Bend Brewing Co., and there was great local beer…

I worried it would be a rowdy event. That we would feel out of place, maybe unwelcome with the kids. I hesitated to buy tickets. What if it wasn’t a good fit? What if we drove 40 miles and paid $40 to feel like we shouldn’t be there?

But the minute we walked in, and I do mean THE VERY minute, a kid came up and tapped Kendall on the shoulder. “Hey… Hey you! Yeah, let’s play hide and seek? Okay?” And Kendall shrugged and ran off to play for hours. Leyna and Lowell and a bunch of other kids joined them, and we were left only having to chase Wallace as he danced his way through the crowds. Seeing the kids play like that and call the other kids their “friends”? Man, that was more love than I expected my heart to feel this year.

It was as family friendly an event as any, at least for as long as we were there. We arrived around 6:30 and left at 9.  And in that amount of time, we chowed down on javelina meat pies and brisket chili. Lowell managed to find a smile after his tummy was full of wood-fired cheese pizza. We even saw a couple get engaged on stage.

I knew we wouldn’t regret making room for our boots. Just like we’re learning we won’t regret saying yes to things we don’t know will be a great fit for us. So much of this life is showing up with minimal expectations, open hearts, open minds, and letting the magic make itself.