I've been with my husband for close to 12 years, and in that time we've dated, gotten married, moved, and had a kid. He's also put up with me never remembering to hang my wet towel back up and leaving my shoes in the middle of the floor, and I love him for it. Between all the memories we've made as a couple, the early stage of our relationship now feels like a blur. Love came quickly for us, but it wasn't until Valentine's Day that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were in this for the long haul. And yes, I find this fact slightly embarrassing.
I knew right then and there, soaked and shivering, that he was the one for me.
I used to be one of the cool kids who bemoan Valentine's Day as a stupid Hallmark holiday. And truthfully, it's an easy holiday to hate. Garish displays of neon pink and heart-shaped candy everywhere, it seems like the whole world is overly eager to profess their love, which isn't something I do very easily. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that after our first Valentine's Day as a couple, I truly fell in love.
The holiday fell during a trip to Southern California to visit my family, at which point we had only been dating for three months. We had lunch with my dad, said our goodbyes, and decided to walk back to my grandmother's house, which was about a mile and a half away. We didn't even notice the storm clouds rolling in. We got less than a few blocks from the restaurant before we found ourselves caught in a downpour that soaked us immediately. Trying at first to run and hide from the rain, we quickly accepted our fate and continued our walk — talking, laughing, and getting completely drenched. When we reached my grandmother's house, flowers were waiting for me on the doorstep, having been delivered while we were out because he didn't want our first Valentine's Day to go unrecognized. I knew right then and there, soaked and shivering, that he was the one for me.
It wasn't the flowers, which really were beautiful, or the fact that he thought ahead to get them for me (I certainly didn't think to get him anything like the "I hate Valentine's Day cool girl" I thought I was). It was our walk. It would have been easy for us both to be frustrated and angry at the situation, unprepared to get drenched without an easy way to get home (ah, the days of pre-Uber living). Instead, we laughed and chatted, enjoying the moment for what it was, imperfect and perfectly wonderful all at the same time.
I never wanted a relationship with someone who can only appreciate the good times, because that's not how life is. We didn't need sunny skies and ideal conditions to be able to enjoy each other and the moment. He was someone, and still is to this day, who's not afraid to laugh at situations that are less than perfect and still find the joy. That's the kind of person I wanted to be with, even if it meant abandoning my hatred for Valentine's Day and admitting that I, too, found love on a greeting-card holiday.