“There is no feeling more comforting and consoling than knowing you are right next to the one you love.” (Anonymous)
If you’re counting (like apparently I am) last month was my third Valentine’s Day with my husband as well as the month of our first wedding anniversary. I had to laugh at how far we’ve come since our first Valentine’s Day together: February 14, 2010.
That was the year my co-workers (my best friends in Utah who helped see me through some very difficult adjustments; good, handsome, sharp married men with wisdom beyond their years as well as beautiful families) caught me on my way out the door as I was heading home for a date that night to ask, “Andrea, what’s the story with Mike? MANY others have come and gone while he has quietly hung in there, what’s up with that?” So I spent the next several minutes explaining nothing was going on, we were just friends—that he was just a very nice older man ( he’d had long hair and beard–a white beard–due to a theater role he was doing when I met him; I had never been a fan of facial hair, so I didn’t really look beyond that!) who felt bad for me, a divorced single mother of four children with no money who didn’t know anyone in her new home in Utah and that he was simply providing social experiences for me. My friends disagreed. They told me Mike was a man and men don’t do things like that; men always have a plan. I argued against that and their male logic…only to arrive home that night to a beautiful bouquet of roses that had been delivered to me with wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day—from Mike. (That was also the night he warned me things were about to change in our relationship. Needless to say, they did!)
2011. That was the year we had been engaged for 9 months. We had a simple but fun evening together, however our big anticipation was our pending wedding (which ended up taking place, sort of unexpectedly, less than two weeks later.) Our Valentine’s celebration consisted of going to a late dinner by ourselves and then he surprised me with the first accessory item he ever purchased for me: a black, fringed, handbag. He got the black part right (I have always loved black), and because he’d seen me with a handbag that had fringed tassels probably assumed I was into fringe on purses. He was partly right, I do appreciate fringed tassels—on Gucci bags. It was just the long, hairy, fringy aspect of the entire purse he gave me that I wasn’t so sure about. He told me the story of the bag purchase, he told me I could return it for a different one, I thanked him for his thoughtfulness but at that stage of our relationship, I didn’t dare return it. So I tried to make the bag work with my style and that effort lasted one week. Because everywhere I went, those who loved and cared about me offered to take care of that purse for me! I retired the handbag to my closet where it awaits just the perfect occasion…I’m thinking something along the lines of Halloween or a costume party. (Hint: When you’re handbag shopping for your fiancee, all of your children tell you a certain purse is “ugly” and only the totally unique, eclectically-styled and funky girl that can get away with anything and make it look cute disagrees, it may be best to make that a situation where the majority rules!)
2012. Our first Valentine’s Day married! My husband made reservations for us to eat at The Grill at Sundance resort (the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged.) With 8 kids between us and limited funds, I assumed dinner would be our entire celebration. However unexpectedly, at work, I heard a voice behind me say, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Andrea!” and I turned around to find the receptionist at my company, beaming, as she excitedly handed me a beautiful bouquet of roses that had been delivered. Then a teddy bear arrived. Then chocolates arrived. Then my husband surprised me by coming home from work “early” (closer to 5 p.m. instead of his usual closer-to-6 p.m.) so we got to spend extra time together—my favorite part of the day—but the gifts kept coming, too. My husband totally outdid himself making me feel loved and special all day. It was my best Valentine’s Day ever!
I went to sleep that night later than usual, exhausted from working all day and staying out late that night on a date with my husband, but feeling so happy, content and loved in my unexpected life. The last thought I remember having as I drifted off to sleep that night was gratitude for a husband who put so much thought and effort into making me feel special and loved, not just every day but also on Valentine’s Day. Before I fell asleep I managed to whisper, “Thanks for everything you did for me today,” and the last thing I remember hearing, as I drifted off, was my husband’s quiet reply, “You’re welcome. Thank you for being my valentine.”
“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.” (William Shakespeare)
I just never saw it coming when I was thrust into my unexpected life. How grateful I am that I hung on through the clouds, the storm and the utter devastation of my world until the sun came out again.
Hang in there!