I've never been someone who really worried too much about Valentine's Day. As a kid, I'd buy valentines and M&Ms for my friends, passing them out happily in each of my classes.

After handing out my punny store-bought cards and packets of candy all day, I'd come home to a classic candy heart, a small gift from my mom, and flowers from my dad. That's how it always went, every year.

As I got older, the little ritual of passing around valentines at school eventually stopped, but my parents never stopped doing their part, and today I am so, so glad that my dad was my first valentine, and not a boy who broke my heart.

Freshman year of college, I started to watch people around me find love, and it was beautiful to see. And come Valentine's Day, I expected myself to start caring about the fact that I didn't have that. When the day came, though, I didn't find myself feeling down. Instead, I was excited to make my trip to the post office to pick up the flowers that my dad had gone out of his way to have delivered.

I walked out of the campus post office carrying a big bouquet of flowers with a "Love, Dad" note attached, and my heart was happy. It's that simple. For me, I don't really need anything more, and I attribute that to the fact that it has always been this way.

When I look back on my 20 years of Valentine's Days, I have only happy memories.

I don't have to think back to celebrating with anyone who hurt me in the end, because my dad was always my valentine, and honestly always will be.

I am so beyond grateful for the strong bond I have, and have always had, with my father. This bond only has only continued to grow stronger, and this past year brought us our biggest challenges yet. Coming out of a year of grief and struggle for our family, my dad and I are even closer than we already were, and I am so lucky to have such an amazing man as my father.

Some people who have never been in a true, long-term, serious relationship might get down on themselves or find themselves feeling awkward about it. Me, though? I honestly couldn't care less. I don't need to occupy my time feeling "awkward" about something I can't change and something that ultimately shaped who I am today. I am proud of the person I am today, and I think everyone should be. If you aren't, I think it is worth figuring out why and doing what you can to change that. I have no regrets, and I am so glad I never allowed myself to rush into something I was unsure of, or to put myself in a certain position just for the sake of being able to say I was in a relationship. I don't believe you can force love and I do not believe you should try. When love is ready, love will come.

I am finally at a point in my life where I have accepted the fact that I need to stop trying to make things happen. I need to stop searching, and I need to, instead, allow things to come as they are meant to. I have finally accepted this after years of doing everything but.

Dad, if you're reading this, thank you for always being my valentine, and my only valentine.

When I became old enough to truly understand the concept of a valentine, I'm glad you were the one the day led back to.

I could go on and on and on about how I couldn't ask for a better dad. I could go on and on about what makes him the greatest. Truth is, though, there simply aren't enough words.

So, instead, I'll leave it at this: my dad was my first valentine, and I am so okay with that.