The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Love love.

On Wednesday, I spent around 30 minutes in Target (the nearest Hallmark is like 20+ minutes away) looking at valentines. It was a kind of ridiculous experience, as I was trying to buy mass-produced pieces of paper that properly express the love I have for the nine greatest men ever born. None of them are my boyfriend or husband -- but they are certainly significant. It seems that the general populace does not have this sort of relationship. We either have vague friends and co-workers ("This card doesn't say anything except Happy Valentine's Day!") or deep, life-long monogamy ("The love I have for you is mushy and romantic and vaguely sexual and only for you forever").

But after reading EVERY card that was not directed (from daughter, for grandmother, FROM DOG [my personal ridiculous favorite]), I managed to find cards that could suffice. Some of them are stupidly hilarious (shaped like a dachshund -- have a wienerful valentine's day [bahahaha you're welcome]) and some of them are borderline sentimental, hijacked to be about my dear boys.

In the checkout line, I balked at the $28 I had just spent on pieces of glittery red paper that the nine loves of my life were likely to throw away within hours of reading. But, I recognized that to complain about that number would be to complain about how much love I have in my life.

These boys are good to me. These boys are (sometimes) not as good to me as they could be. But they are part of me. They are who I wake up every morning to love, and go to bed every night to love again the next day. They are beautiful people who have seen me through the last 10 years of my life, step by step. I write this, knowing that a maximum of four of them will ever even see it. But all nine of them will read those valentines, chuckle to themselves, and know that they are loved.

The more eloquent words I promised.

A privilege.