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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All By My Little Lonesome

Another Valentine's Day, and another one for the less-than-stellar record books.

I don't have a very good track record with Valentine's Day. In high school, I never once had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. Never once. No flowers, no candy, no stuffed animals, no cards. I did get to watch everyone else get stuff, though.

My freshman year of college, I got my first long-term boyfriend, and come Valentine's Day, he got creative because he didn't really have any money. He let me cook him dinner and then he wrapped his privates with a ribbon. Oh, yay.

My sophomore year, he and I had broken up, and my roommate begged me to accompany her on a double Valentine's Day date with her new guy and his best friend, whom I hadn't met. New guy was in his twenties, but it turns out his best friend was in high school. He was 17 and completely thrilled at the opportunity to be "with" an older woman. He kept trying to get me to drink the daquiris his friend was making in the blender, and then he kept asking "Are you drunk yet? Are you drunk yet? Are you drunk yet?" over and over again (and no, I wasn't drunk because I wasn't stupid). When we finally got in the car to drive back to the dorms, he climbed in the back seat next to me and then tried to climb onto me as I wrestled him back. I finally threatened to call his Mom and that seemed to piss him off enough to keep him off me. Gosh, that was a great night.

Then I hooked up with the man who would become my one and only for the next quarter century. He was hit-or-miss. He started out badly, believe it or not. He did the ribbon around the private parts thing one year, boxed chocolates, thoughtless, generic cards (one year, he got me a card meant for a silver anniversary. It had a heart on it so he thought it was for Valentine's Day. Actually reading the card wasn't on his agenda, I guess). Sometimes he did good - flowers were always appreciated even though I think they're a big waste of money. He never sent them to work, though, even though I told him year after year that I'd love to get flowers at work and make all the other girls jealous. They'd be waiting for me at home, and the next day the cat would attack them, and by day three they were in the trash. We had a few nice dinners, and even took a trip once to a bed and breakfast. We got in the room and the first thing he wanted to do was have sex, then eat dinner, then come back and have sex again (We paid good money for this room! We should have sex in it - a lot!)

Ironically, our nicest Valentine's Day was nearly a year after Anna was born. He bought me a diamond engagement band to celebrate our upcoming ten-year anniversary, and at a great Greek food dinner (with baby Anna in her high chair at the restaurant table), he proposed to me all over again, reaffirming his commitment to me, to Anna, to us as the family he'd always wanted and was lucky enough to have.

For the next five years, he coasted back into boxed chocolates and whatever deal he could find on roses.

Six years later, we had a perfunctory dinner and obligatory sex and he fell asleep afterward while I got up all night with David, who was sick.

Seven years later, I found us a sitter and was looking forward to a night out with my husband, who decided to invite a neighbor he barely knew and his wife whom I barely knew along on our Valentine's dinner. I was hurt - we only got away alone maybe twice a year - and I told him so. He got angry and told me he needed adult conversation and couldn't understand why I didn't want people along on Valentine's Day. I'm not sure when I stopped qualifying as adult conversation, but it was more than obvious that his focus was not on being alone with me.

Eight years later, I didn't bother scheduling a sitter or a dinner at all, figuring it was useless but hoping he'd surprise me and tell me I should make plans. He didn't. He was too busy thinking about his new girlfriend that night to notice me much.

There weren't anymore Valentines Days for me after that, not with him, even when he was still living in the house. We got stuff for the kids, of course, and I still do now that he's gone.

This year, they're at his house tonight, as it's his mid-week custodial night. I plan to eat some great food, watch a great movie on DVD or Netflix and maybe even try to read while a cat curls up in my lap.

I am completely alone this Valentine's Day, and thank God, I'm not nearly as alone as I used to be.

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