February 14th

On February 14th, when I was 5 years old, the love of my very short life gave me a gold bracelet from the carnival with my name engraved on it.

I thought I would get in trouble for a boy getting me a gift, so I hid it in a tiny box in my room and stared at every night before I went to sleep.

On February 14th, when I was 16 years old, I was delivered a bouquet of star-gazer lilies from my dreamy football star beau.

At the time I thought they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I thought they had the sweetest scent possible and that the glitter on their petals was the perfect touch.

On February 14th, when I was 21 years old, I spent the day and most of the night pining after someone out of reach and drank a bottle of Yellowtail Merlot.

I thought my world would end and I would never find the perfect person for me. The perfect Valentine to buy me pretty presents, take me out to fancy meals and tell me how incredible I am in a sappy red card.

Valentine’s Day was a day I wanted to be about me. It was a day I wanted to memorialize the romance I deserved.

Now, I’m on the cusp of 30 years old, and I have a good idea what my February 14th will look like this year.

I will wake up next to a silly, bearded man who often forgets to compliment me. He will roll out of bed and let out of the three dogs he has welcomed into our home and make sure everything is taken care of before I even have my hair dry. I will go to work, and within two hours I will get a “Good morning, I love you” text message. On my way home I will send a text announcing my impending arrival because he likes to put up the dogs before I walk in, so they don’t accidentally tear my nice work clothes. We will go to a simple dinner, at a place I picked, and laugh while we eat delicious, reasonably priced food. I will give him a funny card I picked out at Target, and he will chuckle mostly for my benefit because I am the one who thinks funny cards are the best. Then, I will go to bed full, happy, secure and loved. He will give me the same kiss on the lips he gives me every night with an “I love you” just after he turns out the light.

Valentine’s Day isn’t about flowers, fancy meals, and grand gestures. It’s a regular Tuesday that has the potential to serve as a reminder of just how loved you already are.

Written by Alexis Branaman. Edited by Mara Strobel-Lanka.

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