Valentine’s Day used to be among the crappiest, most contrived of holidays for me. That is, until I met Paula.
It’s been seven Valentines Days since we met as a result of a personal ad I placed in the Baltimore City Paper as my aunt suggested. I was working from home, dealing with the fallout of the end of my first marriage, and felt like I’d never find anyone with whom I could have a relationship of any kind.
She responded, and we talked on the phone…and talked…and talked. So, we planned a first date. For New Year’s Eve. I figured, if you’re going to roll the dice, might as well roll big…
The rest, as they say, is history–despite my total flubbing of our first Valentines Day. I was away at a conference in Boston, it was early on in our relationship, and I was at a loss. So, I did the worst possible thing–I made a card that said: “You’re special. That about says it all.” I put it aside to give to her when I returned.
Maybe it was because I wasn’t ready yet to completely open the door to somebody. Maybe it was because I couldn’t figure out how someone could actually be interested in me romantically, what with all the baggage I was carrying around (2 kids, a contentious ex-wife, a subterranean two bedroom apartment with the “living room” serving as a computer test lab…you know, the usual). Whatever it was, I was obviously subconsciously hedging my bets.
She , on the other hand, also made a card, which she had painted by hand, and Fed-Ex’d it to my hotel.
So I felt even more lame when I gave her the card I had made when I got back to Baltimore. That she didn’t leave me then and there says a lot. She does occasionally remind me of that card, though.
Last night, as I was negotiating conditions for our daughter to go to sleep, Paula again made me an original Valentine–a bowl full of paper hearts, each enscribed with a reason she loves me. When I got up to take the boys to their chorus practice before school this morning, she told me that there was a special bowl of cereal waiting for me on the table.
She also got me a 120 gigabyte external hard drive for my Mac.
I’ve made her a card this year, too. But it isn’t nearly as lame as the first one.The only reservations it comes with are for dinner at Petit Louis.
Plus, this year, it comes with chocolates.