I have never been the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. It seemed that I was almost always single during this holiday when I was younger. My sweet mother made it a habit to get all of her kids some little something to make the day special, so that made it less annoying. However, it did suck to watch the other girls at school get roses, balloons and other gifts from whatever guy they were dating.
I suppose I always thought it would get better when I got older. I was doomed to disappointment. With my first husband, I only got a card if he was in the dog house. To be fair, there were a lot of times that we did not have the money, but he was not the world’s most romantic guy. Therefore, Valentine’s Day continued to suck for me, except for my mom and her gifts. (It was thanks to her that I started doing the same thing for my own children.) I could barely get him to acknowledge me in public as anything more than a distant acquaintance during our whole relationship, let alone hold my hand or in some way claim me.
All of this changed for me when I met Michael. For the first time, I had gotten involved with a man who could manage to be romantic without seeming cheesy or uncomfortable. This was a new experience for me! Suddenly, I was with a man who liked to surprise me with little things to make me smile and feel special.
I will never forget our first Valentine’s Day, together. To my surprise and delight, I was informed of a plan to take the weekend and go to Tunica, Mississippi. We do not live too far away to drive, and that weekend was one for which I would not have to arrange childcare. My daughter was the only child at the time and would be spending the weekend at her father’s house.
I was very excited, since I had never been to a casino. We were able to take this trip at very little cost to ourselves, thanks to some members of his family who had used their coupons for free rooms to invite the family. All we had to cover was the cost of travel and money to eat and gamble. I could not wait!
Since we were traveling on Valentine’s Day, Michael surprised me while we were traveling with a beautiful bouquet of roses, an adorable stuffed flamingo in red and pink, and a large box of chocolates that we shared as we drove to Tunica. I love his company, so the trip was as fun as the actual stay.
When we arrived, I had to be shown around like the “country cousin,” but I did not mind, since Michael took such delight in showing me all games. He held my hand or had his arm around me, wherever we went. We had wisely refrained from bringing a lot of money, and we had promised to stop gambling as soon as we went through it. I did have a lucky streak with one of the slot machines, and we actually had more money when we left than we did when we arrived.
One of the perks was that we had the room to ourselves for the first night and day. After that we were sharing it with his sister, and that was fine. She is a lot of fun, and we had a great time. However, before she arrived, we were able to retreat from the noise of the casino and just relax together, which jobs, college and parenting responsibilities hindered when we were home. I have always said that we will have to return, some day.
I will never forget my first Valentine’s Day with Michael. For the first time in my life, there was a person for whom the holiday was all about being with me, making me happy and showing the world that he was proud to be with me. It is ten years and two more children later, and he still does all those things that make me feel special and important. To me, that is the most romantic and wonderful thing.