Column: Everything Emma

Emma Smith

 We’d found a fabulous picnic basket at Goodwill a few days prior, and when the weather allowed, we shared a picnic in Peaks View Park. Our spread was simple — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas and pretzels. 

Without me knowing, my then-boyfriend Josiah slipped a pint-sized spice cake into the basket, complete with homemade frosting. 

Our first summer of dating, I was in Atlanta for an internship, and we exchanged letters for the three months I was away. 

Two years later, I’m still sending him notes, even though he only lives two miles away (he’s worth the postage fee). 

Junior year of college, textbooks overwhelmed my desk, and I told him I needed a bookshelf to keep them tidy. For my 20th birthday, he built a bookshelf to fit on top of my dorm desk (he’d conspired with my roommate to discover the exact measurements). Though I no longer live in a dorm, I still use the shelf to hold my books and other supplies. 

When he’s sick, I bring him cough drops, and when we’ve had difficult weeks, we go to our favorite coffee shop, the White Hart Café, to talk and share something good to drink. Every day feels special with him. 

Because of this, we’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day with grand gestures. We’ve exchanged notes and gone out for coffee, but over-sized stuffed animals and assorted chocolates are not part of our holiday. Because we show love and respect to each other every day, we don’t feel the need to overemphasize our affection on Feb. 14. 

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, I’d like to offer a few ideas to help you make your significant other, friends or loved ones feel special every day of the year. 

  1. Be vocal in your appreciation — Let the people in your life know you are thankful for them or grateful for something they’ve done. 
  2. Write notes of encouragement — If writing to a significant other, express your love through short, sweet notes. If writing to a friend, let them know what you love about them and how they make your life better. 
  3. Check in weekly or daily — Check in with the people you love. You don’t have to spend 30 minutes talking on the phone. Just let them know you’re thinking about them. 
  4. Listen well — Often times, we think listening requires action. Sometimes, the speaker just needs someone to listen, someone to understand. Understand you don’t have to fix a problem just because it’s presented. 
  5. Make your time high quality — When you’re together, be sure you are sharing yourself, not just showing yourself. Limit distractions (i.e., smartphones) and focus on the one you’re with. 

On Nov. 8, 2018, Josiah proposed while we were on a walk at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park — a simple engagement. 

This past weekend on Feb. 17, Josiah and I celebrated two years of going steady, and we can look forward to setting a new anniversary at our wedding in five months. Though we don’t share grand gestures, we express our love every day. The steady flow of little things has built our relationship into what it is today. 

Life with Logan will return Feb. 26. 

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