(This photo was taken by Ivan & Louise Images, sometime between marriage and baby #1.)
It’s Valentine’s Day, and just like every other basic gal out there, love is on the mind. While the holiday is often penned as being “overrated” or “made up by Hallmark,” it’s hard to deny a day solely focused on celebrating love. I mean, why not? Sure, ideally you and your significant other and “galentines” are celebrating your love for each other every day. But why not really ramp it up on Feb. 14?
Our Valentine’s Day plans are somewhat unknown this year, but we tend to cook a nice meal at home and soak up each other’s company. I’m thinking that tradition will continue now that we have a little one in the family. My husband and I have been together nearly 10 years, and this will be our 10th Valentine’s Day! WHOA.
When our baby girl arrived in June, our lives changed drastically. Yes, all for the better, but this new addition also shifted our ability to focus on one another as often as we did before. It comes with the territory of parenting, yes, but it got me revisiting about the idea that you should never stop “dating” your spouse.
I remember my first real date when I was just 14. (Having a daughter now, I wonder if that kind of activity will get approved at age 14 … hmmm.) It was one of those firsts that made you feel independent and “grown up” (Note: I was FAR from grown up.). You get butterflies from the excitement of going to a movie or grabbing ice cream at your favorite custard stand. Ah, to be a teenager again.
Fast forward to September 2007 when I first met my now husband. I was dating someone else at the time but if “love at first sight” is a thing, it would definitely apply to that moment. I remember locking eyes with him and introducing myself in the hallway of his fraternity (oh so romantic!). I’d say the rest is history, but it was a few more weeks before that rang true.
My gal pals and I started hanging around his group of friends more and more. Admittedly, I was always overly anxious to “reach out” and see what they were doing that night (ahem, every night in college). While we didn’t go on typical dates for a couple months, we spent a lot of time talking and getting to know each other – an art form that is often lost with college crushes. It was only a matter of time until he finally took me out.
I’ll never forget it. It wasn’t anything romantic or fancy. It started as a typical Saturday at the football tailgate field and ended as our first “date.” He took me to McAllister’s and bought me a sandwich. I’m like Joey on Friends when it comes to sandwiches, so it was definitely love at that point if it wasn’t already… 😉
Nearly 10 years later, there’s not even an ounce of me that questions what we have. More often than not I’m asking myself “how did I ever deserve someone as amazing as this?” Seriously. With every passing day, week, month and year, I’m reassured that he’s the absolute best guy for me. And every “just because” moment leads to a heart so full I’m beside myself.
Dating. It really works.
Life gets in the way – especially now that we’re parents – but it’s so important to remember the little things. Write love notes. Hold hands. Hug in the middle of the kitchen just because you want a warm embrace. Sometimes I feel like we aren’t keeping it up like we should, but I still get anxious (in a good way) when we go out on a date. I get butterflies when I read a love note from him (they’re always so good). I cry tears of love and joy when he lifts me up on a bad day. I enjoy leaning into his shoulder in a booth at the restaurant and holding his hand as we walk down the street.
So next time life gets in the way, I’m going to suggest something date-y and know it’ll be just the nudge of love we need to wash away the stress and get back on track. Whatever that date-y thing may be, big or small, it can make such a huge difference.