The very first Valentine’s in a new relationship always feels a bit like you’re carefully walking a wobbly tightrope. You want to convey sweet, even teasing, affection and give a taste of the romantic. Yet you don’t want to make too grand a gesture that will frighten your intended, nor say too much that might be potentially misinterpreted or that might make someone uneasy to continue to move forward with you.
This year I found myself looking through Valentine’s cards that were too distant and unemotional in tone or were too effusive about love and devotion. True, my valentine and I already shared great affection, growing friendship and meaningful experiences. We have been drunk on each other in the way of two souls who feel like they’ve already known each other for a very long time but need a period to reacquaint as so much time has passed since they last met. Yet the relationship is still so fresh and new. While our words are filled with hopes and dreams for times in the future, there is the uncertainty of budding romance.
In the greeting card aisle, I found a card that was playful, with very few words but a sentiment that truly fit us. I later filled in the blank space with some personal words that were a bit more romantic (even a bit sappy, but hey I was trying to rhyme). I made a mixed CD because he loves discovering new music, and as he originally comes from another country, there is still so much I have to share with him from my eclectic collection. I dressed up a little bit, and waited as he sent me texts counting down the minutes of his hour and half drive to come to me.
When he arrived, looking like a dream, he immediately lifted me off my feet into his arms—while somehow managing to keep the bouquet of roses in his hand from being crushed. The man is good—managing to charm my mom, get down on his knees to play with my nephew, do push-ups with my dad, and squeeze in as many hugs and sweet words to me as possible before whisking me away to dinner.
Truthfully, every day I spend with him is filled with moments of romance. Every single time, he opens the car door for me and helps me in and out of my coat. He guards me protectively from being jostled in a crowd or on the dance floor. He insists on sitting right by my side in restaurants whenever possible, just to have an excuse to snuggle close. He holds my hand in the car, walking in the street and sitting side by side on the couch. He gives constant hugs, kisses on the cheek and neck, and holds my hand, whether we’re alone or in public. And he never hesitates to tell me, “You are so beautiful.”
Valentine’s Day was no different. And because of this, the day truly carried the enchantment of fairy tale. When I am with this man, I feel truly seen and acknowledged from my smile to the core of my soul. I feel heard, respected, admired, supported and appreciated—not because some day propelled him to be reminded to do so, but because this is part of his being each and every day. He shows enthusiasm in my interests and passions, loves sharing his dreams and the various aspects his own life, and he’s snuck his way into my family so smoothly and quickly, I still grin and watch with amazement.
This is the stuff of this girl’s dreams, not fancy bouquets, boxes of chocolates, diamond rings or being whisked away to exotic locales…though don’t get me wrong, you won’t see me complain if he pronounces he wants to take me on a trip with him some day in the future.