Since love is in the air this week I thought I’d share a little romantic love story of my own. It ain’t a typical love story but it’s mine, for better or worse.

It all started in a little town called Chicago. I was the independent single gal working for the Art Institute downtown. It was an ever changing lifestyle but the change that was just ahead of me was one that even my dreams couldn’t have predicted. As I walked down Michigan Avenue from my bit of high rise in the sky to The School of the Art Institute’s ballroom I was on the phone with a potential suitor. But suited (for the job of my side kick) he was not.

I was headed to an event to support my students. That was all I knew. I knew nothing of the event’s title, speaker, or subject matter. Had I known maybe I would never have made that fateful few block walk.

I sat there listening to a speaker I’d never heard speak about a topic I hadn’t given much credit to. But as the speaker drew the audience in with a tearful account of terrifying bits of his past I thought to myself, “he’d understand me”.

I knew I wanted to say something to him but making a big deal of something wasn’t really my style. After a few minutes of thoughtful debate with myself, I started to write bluntly, freely, and sternly on the back of a comment card. I could have dropped my comments in a box on the way out of the ballroom but something in me knew I had to say what I wanted to say to this man, face to face.

So I waited. And waited. Who knew that this speaker would draw such a crowd?

I was the last one in line.

When I stepped up into his spotlight the world around us changed. Forever.

After our talk, he walked away with my comment card and I walked away with his business card. I remember feeling strongly that I would see him again. Everywhere I walked that night I looked back expecting to see him. But he wasn’t and I left it alone.

One week passed before I got a semi-subtle email from the speaker. And I may have replied with a semi-subtle email closing with “please let me know if there is something specifically I can pray about for you” and “let’s keep in touch”.

It was all barely-there-flirting assuring the other that if the spark hadn’t marked the other than neither would lose face.

For the next month, while I battled the ever growing frigid weather of the “Windy City” and he basking in the mild temps of Atlanta, we corresponded. Through phone calls and emails we painted our past for the other to observe, get to know, analyze, appreciate, and eventually love.

Please understand that we weren’t your typical couple. There was that 20 year age difference to speak of, then his ex-wife and two boys. Could I even be a step-mom? But there were even more things that would try to stop us along the way. Even though that story will be for another time, another post, rest assured that we were defining how love doesn’t look one way.

By the time we had our first date it was Thanksgiving. I still remember taking the train to the airport to pick him up. I still remember what I wore, what he wore, the way his hands felt in mine. I remember taking the first step onto the platform at the airport with one single thought floating in my head.

“I’m about to meet my husband.”

Here’s Big Daddy cracking up as he and I realize that the artificial Christmas tree we just bought for my apartment wasn’t going to make it home the way we came. Walking several blocks and two subway connections to Target would make for a difficult trek with our “box-o-tree”. Even after hailing a cab, our tree was making us work for it.

It was a spectacularly romantic time. We even went on a carriage ride through the beautiful downtown of Chicago and stopped in the Ghirardelli Chocolate store on the Magnificent Mile. We have so many memories of Chicago. Great memories. And sometimes I think we should go back and settle down with the other mid-westerners.

But for now we’re here in Atlanta together after two engagements, two weddings, 1 Army stint, and 5 great years later.

And when something comes along that reminds me of that time in Chicago I love to hold onto that moment for as long as I can. So when the awesome people at Ghirardelli Chocolate wanted to know if I would try some of their new chocolates just in time for Valentine’s Day I was like when can I eat start?!

But wouldn’t you know that sweet little box-o-goodness was delivered whilst I was sick as a dog. So this cute little box has been tempting me for too long!

Ghirardelli Chocolate

My assignment? To eat. Blog. Repeat. Talk about something I could excel at! Seriously, although Ghirardelli sent me several flavors to try they never asked me to say anything other than what I thought.

So here goes.

The good Chocolatiers sent me Dark & Strawberry, Sublime White Vanilla Dream, and Milk & Strawberry. First off, I’m not a huge Dark Chocolate fan that is 100% Big Daddy territory. But I was pleasantly surprised at the Dark Chocolate filled Strawberry. This was one of those food experiences where you felt rich just by eating it. I could actually taste the strawberry and I swear there were actual strawberry seed inside. Not big seeds but big enough to know that they were there.

Milk Chocolate with Strawberry filling was going to be a no brainer. Love it! What can I say? It’s insanely good and it’s one of those items you want to have on hand at all times or at least during those special times when nothing but chocolate will make it better. 😉

The surprise was the Sublime White Vanilla Dream. I would say that white chocolate is the underdog (at least for me). When I have a chocolate craving I never think to look for white chocolate. Well, until now. I’d say that Ghirardelli nailed it with the name Sublime. There are bits of vanilla bean in this chocolate and it’s completely sinful without the sin. It’s light, creamy, and satisfying.

Guys, I take my chocolate very seriously. Just ask Big Daddy, Ghirardelli’s has always been one of my favorites especially those milk chocolates infused with carmel….YUM!

When I opened up the box I read the card inside which said, “true love comes in many flavors”, it really made me think of me and Big Daddy. We’re an unlikely pair in the eyes of some but we’re exactly what the other needed. And that is all that matters to both of us.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the one you love!

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