February was approaching and I knew that I had two dates that I shouldn’t screw up. First was our dating anniversary. Two. Whole. Months. Yes, when dating, you celebrate benchmarks the same way you give a baby’s age: by months. “My baby’s 20-months-old.” No, he’s not. People just don’t math like that. You can choose between a “year-and-a-half” or “almost-two.” Ok? After a year, month-counting should fade away. Anyway, our dating anniversary was the 4th. It was only two months, so there’s the decision of how big this celebration should be. Just dinner? An actual gift? Like, a card? Fake jewelry? (cause this broke college kid ain’t buying much over $20).
Then BAM! It hit me. “I’ll get her flowers, but we also have Valentine’s Day coming up. Do I buy them twice?” This is where goofy, undateable Jared turned into the charming romantic we all know and love today. I bought a dozen flowers and kept them in my dorm. The morning of the 4th, I surprised her with a rose. “Aw, you remembered our dating anniversary!” Yes. Yes, I did. Then on the morning of the 5th, I gave her another rose. “What? Why? You just gave me one!” I know, oh yes, I know. Then at various times of day and different places I would give her another of the dozen each day all the way up to Valentine’s. And I’ve done the same thing. From the 4th to the 14th. Every year. For 16 years.
*drops mic, walks off stage*
Genius #1: Cost savings (let’s be honest). It’s just one bunch of flowers. No vase or arrangement needed.
Genius #2: Taking what would’ve been a single happy moment of delivering flowers, and making it exponentially better. Not only just 11 times more because it’s one a day, but even more so because it’s unique.
Genius #3: It doesn’t matter that I’m doing the same thing every year. Many times she forgets about it and creates a delightful surprise. Plus it gives me something easy to remember to do every year.
Genius #4: It’s totally fun. I love the creative aspect. When am I going to sneak it to her today? One day this year I left it in the snow on her windshield. Another day I dropped it off at her work before she arrived. (Trying to think how to attach a rose to the baby without him eating it).
A slight downside is now that I’ve done it for so long, I have to always do it, and it’s difficult to always remember. I was late by a day or two a couple years ago. Sometimes I’ve chosen a less-than-optimal time to give one. Like this year, I picked an unwise time of day. I gave her the first one when the baby woke up crying in the middle of the night. Quote “HUH!? uhg.. jared… *sigh* you’re ridiculous.” Once I snuck a rose over the shower curtain. Side note: my wife does not like being scared. I repeat, does not.
And just today she was at home alone when the delivery truck for the dishwasher came. They had to turn off the main water valve, which is where I keep my stash of flowers. Busted.
I haven’t always been the best at doing something special on Valentine’s night either. There’s a whole lot of pressure here. You’ve heard it said that Valentine’s was created just as a marketing scheme to get guys to buy stuff. I haven’t ruled that idea out. But for many years, I had a second job that forced me to work on the 14th. Having kids just makes it that much more difficult. Mostly because you don’t want to ask someone “Hey, you’re not doing anything for Valentine’s. Wanna babysit?”
We’ve managed to make the best out of it. Alternate days, lunch not dinner, some creative desserts, and dusting off the china.
So if I had any tips for guys:
This not-always-perfect Valentine’s works for us because we’re doing well as a couple the other 364 days of the year. (Well, maybe like 352 days). One superficial holiday is not going to mend underlying problems.
Do your thing. Don’t do my idea or anyone else’s. You have a unique relationship and it calls for something more than simply taking her to a restaurant.
But also, make sure you still do Valentine’s. Don’t brush it off. You can’t skip it. Even if she tells you to and she’s not “that kind of girl.” You have to do Valentine’s. Really. You have to. I’m not kidding.