Valentines Day. I've seen my share. Over a quarter-century of them. And I've never been the biggest fan of them, probably because I felt I always got the shaft and usually did. No, that's not completely true. Growing up, we were strongly encouraged by our parents to not pair off and date one person exclusively until after high school and after missions. I followed that plea for the most part (early on because there was no one who'd date me and later on because there was no one I wanted to date). But one thing has been constant for every Valentines Day for the past 23 years: Mom's V-Day sugar cookies.
These aren't little (I should have put something next to the pic for size) and Paula, Lydia and I got one this year, just like every year. The Constant in my Valentines Day universe
I've reflected on my Valentine Day experiences over the past 10 years and this is what I remember:
1998 - My dad punked me by sending a big balloon and a teddy bear to the high school during lunch from a Secret Admirer. I was pumped and then found out it was a practical joke from my old man.
1999 - In Pittsburg, PA working construction. Sent flowers to Tara back home.
2000-2001 - The annual cookie from mom and nothing else - to busy serving the Lord.
2002 - Dating Jeana, too poor to do anything but flowers. I think we went to some dance on campus.
2003 - Recently disengaged and thus, disenchanted; relied on the cookie.
2004 - Melissa broke up with me after - more like while - giving me nice Tommy Hilfiger tie. It was weird.
2005 - Spent the day in San Francisco with Abby; best chocolate ever at The Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory.
2006 - Engaged to Paula; laid down some flow for some Jimmy Choo shoes. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again will I spend that much money on shoes.
2007 - Tried to go out and eat, but the first trimester skunked our plans. Curse you first trimester! Managed to score points with the iPod gift.
2008 - Tried to go to PF Chang's but ended up at Frontera because of the 2 1/2 hour wait; enjoyed an evening together vegging after a long week for Paula with the shop opening.
Anyway, that's the rundown - some good, some bad; some cheap, some expensive. In reality, the least eventful of my Valentines Day experiences have been the last three. But they've also been the best because of who I've been able to spend the time with - my wife. She's not perfect, but she is perfect for me and the man I am now is far ahead from the man I was before. It's funny how being with someone who loves you - for you and in spite of you - makes a slow night at Frontera the highlight of your week.
I wanted to post a picture of Paula, but after looking at our pictures, there aren't any of her and she just got this new haircut and looks really good. So, until I get that picture, I'll post pics of the greatest gift Paula has ever or could ever give me - little Lydia.
Shower time. She's loves her showers. Ignore the pale man with the strange chest-hair pattern. He is of no importance.
Just enjoying a smoothie. Uncle Nerf and cousin Beckett, look familiar?