I used to hate Valentine’s Day. I never had a date and it was a glaring reminder that I was single. Fast-forward a few years and now it’s my favorite. Not because of the gifts or the romantic gestures, but I love it because it is one of two days each year (our anniversary being the other day) when people will willingly offer to watch our kids so we can have some alone time. Jackpot.
Before we got to this point, I remember my last Valentine’s Day as a single girl. I thought, ‘forget this; I’m going to have a great time.’ So, I got dressed up, did my makeup and hair, strapped on my heels and had the best time by myself. I lived above Panera Bread (horrible for a carb addict) so I grabbed some food there before renting Napoleon Dynamite and treating myself to chocolate covered strawberries. It was awesome. I had just decided that I was going to enjoy this ‘holiday’ one way or another.
Then I met my husband and he loves Valentine’s Day. He is also a big romantic – I am not. He has a way of remembering the smallest details and turning it into something amazing. Five months ago I might have made a comment in passing about wanting something, I’ll completely forget about it and then on Valentine’s Day it will be waiting for me. Meanwhile, I can’t think of anything romantic or creative so I give him a card with coupons for free hugs in it.
It’s not that I don’t want to get him an amazing gift or show how much he means to me; it’s just that I am a horrible gift-giver. I know the things he likes, but yet I don’t. He loves tools and things for his truck, but that is like a foreign language to me. I’ll go to the store and it’s like I blackout. It’s very similar to grocery shopping while pregnant – pregnancy brain takes over and you can’t remember anything that you needed despite the list you are holding in your hand. So, I’ll do a few laps hoping that I’ll come-to and remember what it is that my husband has specifically asked for. This is what usually happens: I get something just close enough, yet not quite right and he either has to take it back or just pick out his own gift in the first place. This is horrible because my husband loves surprises.
I feel like I am slowly getting better at giving him gifts, but I am nowhere near his level of amazing gift-giving. I now know more about tools and trucks than I ever cared to know, so I am making progress in speaking his language. The good thing is, with a family and a budget we don’t make a big deal out of gifts; our limit is $10-15 on each other. We are going out to dinner and are looking forward to the time spent with each other more than anything else.
This year, we cannot go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, so we have to go out the night before, which just so happens to be Friday the 13th. This is a combination my husband loves – scary stuff and romance. I hate spooky things and we’ve already covered that I’m about as romantic as a reciprocating saw. See, I told you I was learning the language of tools.
It has become our tradition to go back to the same restaurant where we spent our first Valentine’s Day in college. Then we’ll walk around the town and campus reminiscing about our time there and how we’ve gotten to this place in our lives. He will feel older than he is and I will realize I am younger than I feel (hooray for exhaustion). We’ll pass by my old apartment above Panera Bread and then we’ll go get some ice cream. It will be simple and perfect and romantic in our own way. Then on Saturday morning I will ‘say it with bacon’ and make my husband breakfast before he goes to work.
I love my spooky Valentine.