This “Best” (and worst) Valentine’s Day story comes from Molly O’Keefe.
Ah Valentine’s Day – let me come right out and say, I believe in Valentine’s Day. If it’s a Hallmark created holiday, I’m appreciative of Hallmark, because I like getting flowers. And I get flowers on Valentine’s Day. Not random Wednesdays or ‘just because’ – I get them because I married a guy who needs a push into the flower store.
Now, that said my son was born on Feb. 13. He was born without incident in the middle of the night and once we were settled into our hospital room for the night, I sent my husband home to get some sleep and take a shower, because one of us had to more than a pile of hormonal sleeplessness. That first night…mothers, do you remember it? That never before experienced combination of love and fear and pain and utter breastfeeding failure? (I had udder there, first, HA!)
There was no sleep that night in the hospital and when my husband walked in at the crack of dawn, showered and eager and glad and in love and WITH A CUP OF COFFEE! – well, that gigantic cup of Starbuck’s best is a hard Valentine’s Day gift to beat.
When my husband and I were first dating in college, our school had dorms and campus housing in these old homes they’d taken over in the neighborhood. Adam lived in the ground floor room of the International House. The house was great, and we had a lot of fun there. The rooms came with furniture, couches similar to the ones in the lobby’s and waiting rooms of the university – so, totally uncomfortable. And sprinkler systems in all the rooms. This becomes important later.
One Valentine’s day I made an attempt at creating the romantic scene by putting tons of candles in the built-in bookshelves next to the futon Adam had thrown on the floor. Dozens of candles. When he walked in, it was pretty romantic I must say. I remember, pleased with my twenty-year old self, thinking it looked like a movie.
Well, he was appreciative of the gesture and as one thing led to another we didn’t realize that all those candles were actually burning the bookshelves. I asked “what’s that smell?” just before the sprinkler system right over the futon went off.
Flash forward EIGHTEEN YEARS and I am planning a surprise Valentine’s Day for Adam. Because we have two kids, and have been working really hard this winter. Because it’s been a hard winter. Because EIGHTEEN YEARS! Because I’m terrible at surprises, but I’m keeping this one a secret and the way I imagine his face when it’s all revealed makes me SO HAPPY. Because Hallmark or not, manufactured or not, being reminded to show love and affection and appreciation, is something the world could use more of.
Happy Valentine’s Day – I hope it’s smokin’….but not too smokin’.