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!

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