We don’t partake in Valentine’s Day. Nothing against the holiday, we just are sickeningly affectionate all year long, lol.
Of course, that wasn’t always the case. Our first Valentine’s was seventeen years ago. Clark and I had barely been dating. We’d been on and off for only a few months. I hadn’t been expecting to see him that day.
I’d heard a knock and opened the door. There he stood. He held in his hand a single white rose, which he presented to me without a word. The look on his face was an adorable combination of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety.
It was the first time anyone outside of family had bought me flower(s). I stood there, speechless. My silence increasing his unease.
“Happy Valentine’s Day” he mostly muttered as he shoved the flower towards me.
The look of disappointment at my failure to react is what snapped me into motion. I did the only thing I could think of and laid a Valentine worthy kiss on him before accepting the rose and inviting him in.
Though wonderful, that’s not the moment that embedded our first Valentine’s in my memory. It was what came after he walked through the door.
While I found a vase for my rose, he headed into the living room. There, he found my 3 year old son playing on the floor while watching his favorite Blue’s Clues video.
I heard, “Hey, Buddy. Happy Valentine’s Day,” from the other room.
I watched from the kitchen as I filled the vase with water. My heart melted at what I saw. Clark, excitement again evident on his face, presented my boy with a gift.
It wasn’t much. Just a canister of assorted Valentine candies, but it was everything at the same time. He had thought of my son. He’d thought of him on Valentine’s Day.
My son’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, his smile spread from ear to ear, and he threw his arms around Clark’s neck. Clark hugged him back, his own smile spread across his face.
Clark once told me that he’d bought our gifts at a gas station for just a few bucks as an after thought when he’d stopped to get gas on his way to my house. He told me this with a hint of embarrassment and a note of amusement in the admission.
To me, those gifts were priceless.
The rose soon wilted. The candy was quickly gobbled up. But the memory will live on forever.
It wasn’t about the gifts, it wasn’t even about the holiday. It’s the moment that the man I would one day marry gave my son a piece of his heart, and in doing so, he stole a piece of mine.