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Posted by Fitz

Ah, Valentine’s Day…a day of romance and sweets with your sweet, with a long, lazy dinner at a superb restaurant, a bottle of perfectly chilled champagne, a decadent dessert, and…well, I’ll let you choose your own adventure to end this particular scenario. A Hallmark holiday, to be sure, but one that my husband and I always enjoyed as an exclamation mark to another year’s worth of love and devotion.

My favorite Valentine’s Day ever was our first as a couple. We had been dating for five months, had already been on a vacation together, and were planning to get our own apartment in the spring. We knew that this was it, that we had each found the one that we were waiting for, and Valentine’s Day would have been just as special sitting on the couch at the place I shared with my roommates as it was painting the town red. It was a night of anticipation of what was to come for us as we moved closer and closer towards getting engaged, and my now-husband made sure it was special.

While some of the details of the evening are fuzzy to me now, seven years later, I remember the dress I wore (black matte jersey, wrap style), how we took a cab to the restaurant – Philip Marie in the West Village – because it was so cold, and how I ordered lobster ravioli, thinking it was the ultimate in sophistication even though I hate seafood (for the record, it was pretty good – but I haven’t eaten lobster since). I remember that the restaurant’s atmosphere was perfect for the evening, crowded with couples who we would have noticed were having a good time, if we could manage to pay attention to anything except for each other. I remember that we were so close at our little table for two that I repeatedly – and embarassingly – snuffed out the little votive because I breathed. It was a perfect night, and one that I’ll always remember. Perfect.

Fast forward to 2010, and here we are living the American dream with a house in the suburbs, one beautiful girl, a new baby on the way, and all of the joy, trials, and tribulations that come along with this new life that we have built. My husband is still the best friend I could never have asked for, because I didn’t know a man like him existed. We fight, we differ on a lot more issues than we ever could have imagined on that first Valentine’s day, and we’re forgoing a big night out this year because we really want to get a new rug for the den. Instead, I’ll make a nice dinner and he’ll clean up, long after our Bean is asleep, and I’ll try to stay up for the entire movie that we decide to watch. I’ll try to be more affectionate and tuned into him than I have been of late, and we’ll both remember that first Valentine’s Day with love for the couple that we used to be, and the family we are now.

Forget the wine, the chocolates, the fancy meal. Don’t forget the flowers, because I love them (just get them at Trader Joe’s so I don’t feel too guilty about the expenditure). All I need this Valentine’s Day is time with my family, to be still and enjoy our last few months as a family of three…to remember how we got here, and to think about what the future has in store for us. While it’s not glamorous, it’s the Valentine’s Day celebration I’ve always hoped for.