Valentine's Day has special significance for my wife, Rebecca, and me. It is not just that it is a typical day for lovers to celebrate, it happens to mark the anniversary of our first date.
Ten years ago, I was talking to Rebecca some, mostly in group settings with other friends. We had spoken on the phone a time or two, but I wanted more. The time I spoke to her on the phone following us hanging out as a group happened to be when I answered her call while purchasing flowers for her at the florist.
That's right, she called me.
The funny thing is that I was about to call her, and ask her out on a date, just the two of us this time. I admit, it wsa pretty presumptious of me to assume that she would say yes. I guess I was confident enough to go ahead and be buying flowers for her.
We have always found fun things to do, in ways that are not extravagant. On this particular date, I believe we had tried to go to a couple of other restaurants, but upon seeing that they had crazy wait times, we opted for something else. We landed upon a Mexican restaurant, partly because we like chips and salsa a lot, and partly because it was on the way to the play we were seeing.
That's right, we're cultured. We went to a play.
It was a small play, put on at a local junior college, but was was something different. The play was Once Upon A Mattress, an adaptation of The Princess And The Pea. I can actually still remember that she was wearing this leather skirt that had black and white patches on it. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those guys, however romantic I try to be, that can remember what my (now) wife wore at all of these important dates throughout the past ten years. That would be amazing, but it's just not true.
Other than some minor altarcations while entering the restaurant, the night went pretty smoothly. The incident waas completely unprovoked, and I was quite proud for keeping my cool at the guy being a jerk in front of this girl I liked a LOT and was out with for the first time alone.
So, back to the message and namesake of this post, how to cheat at Valentine's Day and get away with it. No, no. Not THAT kind of cheating. (Your mind went thre, didn't it?) I wanted to share how we have developed these traditions of doing some nice things for each other, but continuing throughout the years as things that don't cost much, if any at all.
I'm not sure how long ago this started, but it was before we had kids, so at least 5 years ago. I would make a little setting on the kitchen table with a card, possibly some flowers (usually tulips...that's the default for Rebecca...she loves them) and possibly a little happy from me or some champagne that she likes. Then, a few years ago, we started just making a nice meal to enjoy at home that we both love...like a big steak with a baked potato. We just found that we enjoyed it much more. Everyone is nuts on Valentine's Day here in town, and it seems you have to wait for two hours just to be seated anywhere you go. We are not all about that.
We have kept that tradition, and did something similar this past Saturday. Below, you will see an idea I saw somewhere else, and adapted for Rebecca. I filled a jar with a miriad of things I love about her. I even threw in a few things that the kids said they loved about her. I also wrote up a card and already had some champagne that we love chilled and ready to go. A few weeks ago, I bought some pretty potted flowers, and joked with her that they were her Valentine's flowers, and they are still blooming strong. I just love that she was still happy with that, and they made for some great color over the past month or so.
So, I really cheat at Valentine's Day. I don't go overboard and buy all of the things in the world. Sorry, commercialism. By trying to find ways to make her feel special that were not expensive, it forced me to come up with unique ways to present things. It made me really explore who I knew her to be, and what things I knew she loved, but had possibly had forgotten. And it totally worked. She and I loved the evening!
The below photos show some of her reaction when she saw the setup. I have always loved surprising her, and this still surprised her. Our cards to each other basically started with the same sentence, referencing the memory above about the play and our very first Valentine's Day together. It was special and neat to see that we were both thinking the same thing.
NOTE: the elaborate, handmade card in some of the later photos is Rebecca's card to me. She has awesome crafting skills.