I remember the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my then fiancee, Robyn, like it was yesterday. We had been dating for a little over 7 months, had been engaged for almost two, and I knew I wanted to do something romantic and special for this incredible, gorgeous, amazing woman who had surprised me by falling madly in love with me.
At the time, I shared a large apartment with my grandmother because my grandfather had passed away the previous year. I asked Grandma if she would mind giving me the apartment for the night and proceeded to create my plan.
I would recreate the spaghetti scene from Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. Every element of the evening would be exactly as the scene behind Tony’s Restaurant showed in the film.
I found a red and white checkered tablecloth, melted some candles down and put them in various bottles, bought a huge roll of butcher paper and drew a skyline that would serve as the backdrop for the evening. I even had clotheslines and clothing hanging between the buildings.
Spaghetti with meatballs with the dish of the evening, homemade by me, of course. I also ensured there were the long crunchy breadsticks, sparkling cider (not completely authentic to the film), and some desert. Italian music filled the room and when Robyn arrived, I think she was pleasantly surprised to see I had gone to so much work.
We’re now celebrating our 12th Valentine’s Day together. I would like to say that I’ve put as much work in to every one since, but I haven’t. It seems to get harder as the years go by, as you add children to the mix, and have to include in the budget more than just the cost of sexy underwear, perfume, and dinner–there’s also the babysitter to consider, and finding one is always a chore.
We’ve had many other memorable Valentine’s Days: a “choose your destination” evening where I gave her cards with various choices, determining where we would go for appetizers, dinner, what kind of gift, etc. I think that’s the one where we also got sideswiped by a car load of illegal aliens in downtown Redmond. Memorable, to say the least.
We’ve done themed nights, like the time we saw the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates, set in Hawaii, listened to songs about Hawaii to and from the Hawaiian restaurant, The Islander, and then saw the movie. Last year, we couldn’t find a babysitter, had a 9 month old baby, and decided to stay home. We paid the kids $10 each to watch themselves while Robyn and I ate a great dinner, watched Moulin Rouge, and Robyn fell asleep.
All that to say, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be this big romantic evening where women are showered with love and gifts. I get it. But sometimes it’s just difficult. This year, Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday, my busiest day of the week. We’re going out to eat, and I look forward to a nice time out with my beautiful bride. But if everything doesn’t end up as “romantic” as I think it should, will it still be okay?
I think so. After all, any night you can spend with your best friend–your biggest ally–your closest companion–the love of your life, well, that to me is a true Bella Notte.
Happy Valentine’s Day to the love of my life.