This year Valentine's day found both of us in an unprecedented situation. Normally we're sentimental types who have to do something to celebrate our luck in love. In our six years together Dave has hired music students to sing to me at work, sent flowers, taped love quotes all over our house, crafted me clever momentos like last year's framed wedding date, and more. I've done all right by him, too. The bar has been set high around here.
This year was different somehow. We both seemed caught in a fog of indecision and procrastination. I had a splashy idea, but never lined up the outside help it would have required. (I'm saving it for another year. Again.) Dave was stymied by the mild budgetary pinch we are experiencing. While not broke by any means, there was no money for the gifts or bought experiences at which he is adept. A mild break in the weather on Sunday set us contemplating a picnic supper in the cemetary overlooking our little town, until cold clouds rolled in. The forces seemed to be against for this holiday. The only clear and thankfully shared determination left to us was that Valentine's Eve be special in some way and spent together.
In that aim we succeeded. We danced to slow jazz in the wide open heart of our little barn. We dined on an improvised sweet potato, ham, and quinoa soup garnished with cilantro pesto and cornbread croutons; toasted with red wine; and snuggled up with some good chocolate. OK. It was actually a Lindt chocolate reindeer left from Christmas that I bought for 59 cents at the local market, but it was plenty delicious. We spent the remainder of the candle lit evening just being happily together, sharing our thoughts, our dreams, and our fortunate satisfaction with each other. It doesn't get much better than that. I know. I've had the opposite.
In the past, I would have been clinically worried if we, or I, had nothing amazing planned for the holiday of love. I suffered then from a veritable phobia that good love always goes bad. Five years of good marriage have calmed that fear. Even our every day life is loving and companionable, which matters much more in the long run than romantic stunts. I delight in surprises, flowers, sentimental gestures, and gifts as much as the next woman (although there better not be a next woman), but without the quotidienne kindnesses, they are meaningless.
I'm grateful for a relationship in which the best gift is being together, even when it's in our relaxo-clothes eating pantry-clean-out soup fancied up with aggrandised leftover cornbread washed down with five dollar wine followed by bargain buggy chocolate. Relationships may be as common as cornbread, but as I've just learned, common things can be amazing with the right chemistry, better than you ever knew they could be.
P.S. After you make the life changing cornbread, try turning it into croutons. Cut into cubes, brush with melted butter, and toast in a 350 degree oven until golden brown, turning over once. They're as delightful as good love.