Some families have a family crest. In our family, we have a family heart.

See, we’re storytellers–through words and illustrations. Through that storytelling, we show our love–for each other and for the world.

If you are new to our family’s story, let me try to catch you up.

On our first date, my husband and I connected through our love of comic books and children’s books–both illustrated storytelling. That connection became part of our own origin story.

When we got married a year after that first date, we had a superhero wedding, on National Superhero Day to boot. We each identified strongly with a classic character: for Lloyd, Batman and for me, Ladybug Girl. Meek Manor was born through that new joined identity. And because my husband is a brilliant artist, we’ve our own storybook illustrations through our relationship.

Today, though, on Valentine’s Day, I want to focus on our family heart. Some day I may share more of the timeline of our illustrated storybook characters.

In the beginning, there was the joining of two hearts–Batman and Ladybug Girl.

Then we added our sweet son, Patrick who was born still in 2014.

On his first Valentine’s Day, I wrote about what he taught me about love and included the family heart that Lloyd had illustrated earlier in our grieving process.

Last year around Valentine’s Day I mentioned that I’d love an updated family heart that included representations of ALL of our family members–puppies included. Lloyd gave it to me as a precious gift on our anniversary last year.

Our current family heart includes all members of our family.

On the left, we have Batman, and on the right we have Ladybug Girl.

Patrick is represented through the halo around Batman’s ear. We always thought of him as our little Batman.

Toto, our first pup, who died in September of 2014, is represented through a collar dangling from Ladybug Girl’s antenna.

Inside our heart, we have a smaller purple heart “stitched” into place for our sweet girl, Stitch.

And lastly, the paw print in the middle of our heart is for our rescue pup and Stitch’s BFF, Didi.

Our family. Our heart. Our lives. Our love letter. Our story.

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