Valentine's Day was never a big deal for me. I never cared if I was alone on V-D and most of the times I was with someone, the day was a pressure filled mess. Always trying to think of new and exciting ways to say "I Love You" - or as it happened for many years.. something far less romantic...
But those days are long gone.
Last year I had my last Valentine's Day as a single man. I had it in mind that I was going to ask my girlfriend to marry me in the near future, but I had no plan of attack or big bad scheme to blow her mind or sweep her off of her feet. I had designed a ring for her and was waiting for it to be finished. It just so happened to be Valentine's Day when the jeweler called me to let me know it was finished.
Now, I have to preface the next part of the story that I am sure is already unfolding in your mind. You have to understand that I am the least cliche type person you may ever know. The mere idea of proposing on Valentine's Day makes me want to hurl. That being said, the fact that my then girlfriend, now wife, Natalie knew this about me, made for a unique opportunity.
While leaving work(last year, V-D was on a Saturday), Natalie was cajoled by her co-workers, half joking, about her coming back with a ring on her finger. She, knowing her man, replied with an aloof "yeah right". I think the idea of me proposing to her on Valentine's Day was perhaps as unbecoming in her mind as it was in mine.
So when I showed up at the Jeweler, I actually had no intention of even picking up the ring. I just wanted to check it out and make sure it was what I wanted, etc.. But after examining it, I was loathe to leave without it. So I took it with me, just in case...
As I drove back to my place, the last thing in my mind was whether or not to propose tonight... but as I walked up onto my porch, it dawned on me that I may never have the opportunity for surprise like this ever again... hmmm... nahhh... But I'm going to take the ring with me.. just in case. I left the box at home.
I had bought her some gifts and a card which I had surprised her with earlier, a diamond pendant necklace, and a love letter. We also had plans for the night. Natalie made lobster for dinner (yum!) and Creme Brulee for desert (my favorite!), and we went to see 50 First Dates which had just come out. We really had a great time, and the movie was a lot of fun, maybe my favorite romantic comedy.. right up there with Serendipity. We went back to her apartment to eat Creme Brulee and hang out for a little while and end our fun Valentine's Day together. I went into the bathroom before I left and after washing my hands I slipped one into my pocket and found something I had completely forgotten about... the ring. I don' think it could have been more perfect.
I left the bathroom with my hand still in my pocket. I sat down next to Natalie on the couch and after a moment, I said, "I have one more surprise for you."
Now, in an ideal world I would have very smoothly slid my hand out of my pocket and directly onto her finger while asking her to marry me... it didn't quite go so hot. I fumbled it, and even dropped it.. but she was in shock, so unless you remind her, she may not even remember. I finally got the sparkling ring onto her ring finger, and asked her if she would be my wife...
You obviously know how she answered.. but if you could have been there, you would have waited with me for what seemed like an eternity until the fog cleared from Natalie's mind. I have no idea what was going on during that time. I could not tell if she was seriously thinking about it, or if she was blinded and entranced by the shiny rock, or if she had not yet realized what had happened.. in any case, she eventually said yes, and as they say... "the rest is history".
It is not, however, ancient history. This is the anniversary of our engagement. Tonight we will go grocery shopping together for our dinner - my 'specialty' steaks. We will enjoy an evening of each other's company and watch the movie that got me "in the mood' to pop the question one year ago. Perhaps this will become our V-Day thing, dinner and 50 first dates.
Lord willing, this is the first of decades of Valentine's Days together. And now it means more than ever.