Do you remember our first Valentine's Day?


It was our first Valentine's Day as a married couple.   For the past six months, Nina had been helping me learn that the rules had changed.   I was no longer a carefree bachelor.   I was now a husband, a breadwinner, and the father of five.   So, my spending habits had to change.

Rule #1:   Of course, we'd buy each other Valentine's Day cards.   In fact, this was required.   But, the card had to be stamped, mailed, and postmarked. Just presenting a card when you got home from the office didn't count.   If it wasn't postmarked, it didn't count.   Without a postmark, nothing proved you'd thought of it ahead of time.   (That single rose you could have picked up on the way home didn't count either.)

Rule #2:   No gift is necessary.   But if you decide to buy something, it can't be extravagant.   Expenses are carefully prioritized when you're raising five children.

About a week before Valentine's Day, we went to the mall.   We were passing through the gift department on our way to buy shoes for the kids when I spotted a sculpture of a man and woman standing in sensual embrace.   I'd never been moved by chachkas like this before, but this was "us".   The bachelor in me immediately insisted we had to have it.   But the wife with me reminded me of Rule #2 ...and this was an extravagance.

When I came home from the office a week later with a single rose as my gift (it was okay 'cause I'd sent the card ahead of time), I walked into the house and was surprised to find most of the lights were out.   Nina came from the kitchen and greeted me at the door with a Happy Valentine's Day kiss. (I was always greeted with a kiss, but there was more passion in the kiss today.) I asked if we were now saving on electricity, keeping the lights off in the house.   Nina casually said, "No, you can turn them on." So, that's what I did.

That's when I found why she'd kept the lights off.   Our Statue was standing in plain view on the mantel of the fireplace.

"It's our first Valentine's Day together and I wanted it to be special," Nina explained.
"So, now you've learned Rule #3:   Sometimes you've got to break the rules."

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You ask, "Do you love me, anyway?"
I smile and say, "No. I love you everyway."

      - from Yale to Nina

Copyright Yale Schwartz, 2003