It’s early February and that spot in your heart that’s just always a little sad while you’re apart, it’s throbbing. You can feel it a little more right now as the world ramps up for Valentine’s Day. You feel it every time a jewelry commercial comes on. Every time you walk through the mall past Victoria’s Secret. Every time you look at the calendar and see that stupid number 14, mocking you.
You imagine all of the wonderful things that could be if the military would just get their act together and stop shipping the love of your life far away from you.
And February sucks a little more every day.
Let me tell you a little bit about the history of our Valentine’s Days since John and I have been together.
The first year, we were 200 miles apart and didn’t even know if we were each other’s Valentines. I sent him The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a book about cannibals. Yes, cannibals. I thought it was a great book and I thought he would enjoy it. (Yep, I was trying hard not to look like I liked him TOO much.) Don’t worry though– he sent me The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. As you do on Valentine’s Day. Apparently.
The second year was THAT Valentine’s Day. We dressed up, had dinner in Old Town Alexandria, the whole nine yards. He even sent me a dozen roses at work that day.
The next year? Deployment. So you know how that went.
The fourth year, a snowstorm ruined our plans and John worked on his master’s degree work all night. We called out for Chinese. They forgot our order.
Last year, we ended up in a dive bar because it was the only thing open in a snowstorm while we were traveling.
That’s all to say that there is no one, perfect Valentine’s Day. That pressure you’re feeling? Especially when you feel like everyone else gets to be with the person they love EXCEPT for you? It feels lonely. It feels cruddy. And those feelings can really overshadow the entire month. Just know that, while it feels like everyone else is starring in their own version of a Kay Jewelry commercial, that’s really not what’s happening.
Find a way to enjoy this month if you’re having a hard time through it. You’ll look back on it with fondness in a few years and say, “Remember that Valentine’s Day I gave you a book about cannibals?”
Well, you probably won’t do that. But you get the picture.
Being apart is hard. It stinks. And sometimes it’s hard to find the silver lining. Who am I kidding? Sometimes it’s hard to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. But remember: this separation is part of your own, unique story. Even the part with a Valentine’s Day apart from each other. Make it your own.