Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

What Does Love Mean?

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I won’t be with my husband, I’ll be on a writing trip with friends. I’m not too worried about it though. I mostly think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday.

That being said, I don’t think you can say “I love you” too much. You never know when it will be the last time, but more than that, expressing to someone that you love them forms and shapes and repairs the foundation of your relationship.

But what does it mean?

This year, the day before Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian faith. Lent is a time of repentance, turning from the wrongs of the past, and pressing closer to God. It’s a reminder that God loves us so much that he’d be willing to take a bullet to keep us safe.

That’s the kind of love many romance writers weave into their stories every day. It’s most obvious in romantic suspense where one person can literally take a bullet for the other. But it’s in all the other stories where someone says, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, and the other person says, I forgive you because I love you. And then they grow closer than ever.

I love those stories!

Some people theorize that the reason people respond to stories of love and sacrifice and forgiveness and happily ever after is because we are wired that way. Our enjoyment of such stories opens our hearts to the possibility that those tales represent the Truth of why we are here. We are loved, we made mistakes, a sacrifice was made on our behalf so that we wouldn’t be lost forever, forgiveness was offered, and happily ever after is ours for eternity.

That’s a pretty amazing love story. Loved forever. I want that.

Much as I can’t wait for my writing trip, I’m going to miss my husband. I’ll miss waking up beside him every morning, trying to be the first one to say “I love you.” I’ll miss how much he makes me laugh. And as much as I’ll try to deny it, I’ll miss how much he teases me to the point of losing my mind.

Because somewhere in the layers of all of those things, I’ve found a taste of what love is all about – someone who sacrifices to make my life better, who always forgives me, who wants to be with me forever, no matter what.

Love is the answer to why I am here. It’s the answer to why I write about love.

My Silly Valentine

If we had kids, John would have a great story for an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” I’d bounced around from tiny country town to Ivy League university to the Marine Corps in less than two years. When we met in January 1988, I was marking time at the local community college, waiting desperately for the fall semester so I could return to my “real” school.

John was living off-campus with his twin brother, but he spent most of his time hanging out with his friends at West Hall. That just happened to be where I lived. When I asked him out on a date – I was a modern 80s woman – he grudgingly agreed. He was more interested in my bubbly roommate and Hot Rachel across the hall, but I was determined to gain his attention.

Our first date was a disaster. He was mad at me for something, then I got mad at him, and back and forth all night. By the time we ended up at his place where he introduced me to his pet rats, I decided the whole thing had been a terrible mistake. I wanted my kiss and then I’d leave.

See, when we were in college, it was sort of the “in” thing for girls to ask boys out if they really wanted to. Whoever did the asking paid for the date. And experience had taught us girls that boys assumed they should at least get a kiss after forking out the cash for a cheap dinner and a flick of their choice. So, having paid for those things that night, and having far less fun with Mr. Moody than I’d expected, I wanted the kiss I’d paid for and I’d be on my way. Goodbye and good luck.

The thing is, when I finally got that kiss – and it took a lot of work on my part to get him to give in – it was pretty darned good. Good enough to give the guy a second chance! 😉

A month later, smitten to the core by now, I waited to see what John would plan for Valentine’s Day. I was more than a little nervous because John’s twin brother had been telling him over and over, “Run far, and run fast!” We were 19 and 20, not old enough to buy a wine cooler, let alone a fancy bottle of wine. Neither of us had a car, there was no public transit in our town, and several feet of snow covered the ground. Where could we walk to besides the pizza place?

John invited me to have Valentine’s dinner with him at his place. He was in the hospitality program at school, so I figured I’d lucked out. I didn’t cook, so anything he made was bound to be delicious.

John was the perfect gentleman, taking my coat when I arrived and pushing me toward the heater to defrost. I’d only walked about a mile, but it was bitter cold out. When I thawed enough to glance at the table, I was speechless for a moment. Not a home-cooked dish in sight. But when I realized how John had prepared dinner, I began to smile. I don’t think a boy had ever gone to such trouble for me.

I think we had salisbury steak dinners and corn – courtesy of Swanson frozen dinners and the microwave. John took the food out of the cardboard containers and re-plated it on Corningware plates (the college student’s dinnerware of choice). He poured peach Faygo sodapop into glasses so it looked like champaign. Our paper napkins had fancy restaurant folds. Then he pulled out my chair.

I fell for him a little more.

We talked and ate and drank peach-flavored pop. For dessert, John went into the kitchen and made some noise. I heard the microwave ding and out he came with a steaming carton of microwaveable brownies. Yum! He cut the brownies and…the knife made a big globby mess. John muttered under his breath.

By then, I knew this guy was someone I wanted to make happy. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “Let’s just eat it with spoons.”

John got the spoons, but he was still grumpy that the brownies hadn’t turned out right. What he didn’t know is that I love brownie and cookie batter! Before long, we were laughing and feeding each other spoonfuls of sort-of microwaved brownies. More Faygo was opened and consumed. One of us joked that we didn’t need alcohol to have a good time.

By the end of the night, I was more than smitten. I was irrevocably in love. I never returned to my old Ivy League school. John gave me a promise ring that summer and we’ve been following each other around ever since. The only thing that’s changed since then is that we’ve learned you can actually become MORE in love every year. 🙂

That’s why I like to write funny, romantic stories! What about you? Do you have a silly Valentine’s Day story? Tell me! I love to hear stories about people in love. 🙂


Books I’m reading this week: Accused by Janice Cantore (it’s awesome!)

Movies I’ve seen in the last week or two: Red Tails, really liked it; Her Minor Thing, not funny enough for a rom-com; Chronicle, weird but cool.