Bullets of my Youth

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Probably the least necessary, most annoying holiday out there. Jonathan and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day, mostly because there’s no point. The last thing I feel after slaving over a gourmet-esque feast is “sexy” (more like flushed and perhaps even a little greasy), and the restaurants are always insane. But really, Jonathan would be more than happy to find a baby sitter, send me for a massage, meet me at the door with red roses, and treat me to a glamorous, romantic night on the town. But he knows there’s no point, and that I’m not really that girl. But mostly, he knows that I hate Valentine’s Day.

The last time I enjoyed Valentine’s Day itself, just because of the day it was, was…well, maybe back when I was little and we lived on Betty Street in Conway. This old man named Mr. Emerson lived across the street, and he always brought me candy for Easter, and occasionally for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, or Christmas. This was years before I ever had even the slightest of a romantic awareness about the holiday, so I really was just in it for the candy, and good old Mr. Emerson and his wife Ursula delivered the goods in the form of chocolate hearts and a cute little card for me and my then-toddling brother.

But by the time a few years had passed, everything had changed. I’d been stood up for Valentine’s Day when I was 16 (it’s okay, he never amounted to a hill of beans and it was God’s way of weeding him out). That was just the tip of the iceberg. Every Valentine’s Day that I can friggin’ remember it seems to have been either freezing cold and/or raining (usually a combination of the two). For at least two Valentine’s Days in recent memory (last 12 years or so), I have found myself clinging for dear life to the barely intact interior of a beater with a slab of OSB for a passenger side floor board (TWICE! AND A PROM NIGHT!). I found myself in the awkward position of ending my first truly serious, long-term relationship on Valentine’s Day ’03. Another cold, rainy Valentine’s Day, but truly terrible in the sense that for the first time, I was the one hurting someone. He was actually a nice guy, but it just sucked that the night he figured out that I was “off” happened to be “V-Day.” But certainly not the last time. I have actually ended dating relationships because of Valentine’s Day – and not because he didn’t plan something or didn’t buy the right necklace or the correct perfume, but rather because he dragged me out to eat a restaurant that he’d failed to make a reservation for, thus dooming me to a 2-4 hour wait on account of “Duh…why’s there so many peeeeeeople?”

And has anyone noticed that the initials of the holiday are “VD?” Coincidence? I think not.

I hate Valentine’s Day. I hate the commercialization, I hate the jewelry, I HAAAATE chocolate-covered cherries (bleh!), and I hate – HATE – the expectation that sex is happening because of the day of the year that it is. Uh, fellas’ of the world, let me clear: Valentine’s Day is the sexual equivalent a Vegas gamble, not a 401k. Results are not guaranteed.

But let me tell you what I do love: Every day with my husband. The first year or two of our marriage was a lot of adjustment, and I think there were times that we both looked at our lives and thought “What the heck have I gotten myself into?” But every day I am amazed at the man he is – not a little boy like almost every person I came into contact with on my way to finding him. He is a man. He tells the truth. He stays committed to the vows we said to one another, not just on our wedding day, but long before that. He is an amazing father. And he’s…well, ya know…awesome in other ways.

If I go back to the beginning of our relatively short time together (six and a half years), I sometimes remember that there were a few people who really hated us when we got together. Some people thought we were stupid to get engaged after just a few weeks of knowing each other. Some people thought Jonathan was in it for the wrong reasons; some people thought the same of me. Some people said we had no business getting married until we’d accomplished x, y, or z thing that somehow really mattered. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Love isn’t something you fall into – it ain’t a fox hole hiding in the woods, waiting for you to stumble across it. Love is a choice you make every day, something you work at. Really, I know we did something sort of crazy, getting engaged after less than two weeks and married after just nine months. We did a cannonball into a pool before looking for the water – no idea if it was going to be comfortable at first or not. But it’s worked out perfectly. And today I think about all the bullets (i.e. losers) I dodged as a younger girl, all the prayers that God mercifully chose to delay or just not answer, all the twists of fate that led me to this awesome hubby of mine and I just giggle and smile. WHEW!

So I’m not alone?! Whew…

I would say this happens every year, but really it’s only happened for two years now since Russ is really only sixteen and a half months old. But I always wonder how people stay so calm about pregnancy tests and all things related to it. Oh, hold on…

NO, I’m not pregnant. Someone always asks me that after I post something related to pregnancy, babies, etc. I’m not pregnant, at least not to my knowledge (and you know I would tell). It’s just that I’m a mother of a toddler, surrounded almost constantly by friends who are pregnant or have recently been pregnant or would perhaps like to be pregnant at some point…ugh, you get the idea. Truly, I DO realize that this is tedious mind-numbing to a large contingent of the population:

“Geez, congrats, you peed on a stick!” (Actual comment I read on a YouTube video similar to the one I’m about to shamelessly post.)

Apparently there is really this thing taking off where people take pregnancy tests and post the results and their reactions on YouTube for the entire world to see. It could go either way, you know – it could be a cute bonding opportunity for moms of the same age and all that. Or it could be a good way for us to release one more aspect of our lives to complete strangers. Bah humbug. It doesn’t bother me, long as it’s not 14 year olds posting themselves taking pregnancy tests.

Anyhow, it was around two years ago at this time that I was in the early stages of my pregnancy with Russ. I didn’t post the pregnancy test results on YouTube because we didn’t even know we were supposed to film the stinking thing. What? Nobody told us…

BUT…if we HAD filmed it, then this girl totally nailed it with her reaction to her happy pee stick moment. (Credit: ThisPlaceIsNowAHomehttp://thisplaceisnowahome.wordpress.com/).

This is totally what I did. To the letter (okay, maybe a couple err four extra letters…a few times over…while stomping around the living room in disbelief/joy/shock), this is what happened. And I think it’s really sweet, honestly! No really, I am a pitiful SAP for this kind of stuff.

Will we ever record and post a pregnancy test result for future children? I’m going to venture a guess that we won’t. I don’t film well, especially not when I’m doing my ugly cry. But you know, seeing this adorable video that I randomly found in a Good Morning America clip about the “WombTube” craze (of all places) took me back to where this crazy journey began.

Russ is a lot more work now than he was when I was busy growing him in there, or when he was a little newborn who only pooped, ate, and slept all day. But he is so much doggone fun, and so much love and joy to us, even though we’re not sure what the heck we did to deserve him. It’s nice to see stuff like this and be reminded about the moment when life began to change and it wasn’t all so simple anymore. Not to say that my life was “simple” because I didn’t have kids – believe me, in a lot of ways, it was way more complicated then. But things started to come into focus at that moment, and it’s been an evolution ever since. I get to run around the back yard with him now, and we can read books and sing songs, and he actually has words! He can answer questions! He’s starting to put two or three words together into full sentences!! That’s friggin’ AMAZING!

But really, it is. How we get from being a collection of cells to what we end up becoming, I will never understand. Except to say God’s gotta be behind it. I don’t agree with some peoples’ versions of God (Hello, Westboro Baptist Cult Members), sure. But THIS God – the guy that brought Russ, the most precious person I know, into existence? He’s pretty great.