I was not even going to write anything about Valentine’s Day in this month’s column. I had a self-righteous “dare to dream” diatribe all worked out in my head. You know, something like, “This is where the rubber meets the road, friends.” Whoever “they” are, “they” cautioned us the entire last week of December that most of us would fail at whatever New Year’s Eve declarations of intent we made. Here we are over a month into the New Year, and Fat Tuesday is sitting there like a huge dead-end to whatever “new me” or “new you” we were determined to become in 2016.
Plan wisely. Choose wisely. This is how you should go about … (fill in the blank). I am all for planning, for retirement (sort of). But if I have learned anything in 48 years on this planet, it’s that life does not care what you have planned or plotted. Things, people, seasons, motivations – these all change for reasons over which we often have little control.
So here I am, writing a column I adamantly resolved would not revolve around anything Hallmark or Russel Stover, writing about something Valentine’s Day-ish. Love.
As I sat down with my laptop, prepared to write a motivational masterpiece, I glanced off for just a moment, and there he was – my husband, Rick. Our wedding photo was just within my plane of vision. Who woulda thunk it? Not either one of us, that’s for sure.
First of all, I was 40 when we wed and I was supposed to be well into a fabulous marriage, with two children … or one … or three. I’d have a successful career, the physique I had at 24, and a wonderful home that I shared with a Tom Brady-meets-Albert Einstein fella, who spoke to me like the guys on soaps speak to their love interests – but he wouldn’t need script-writers (swoon).
Rick, I believe, had his heart set on a Danica Patrick/Gretchen Wilson/Giada De Laurentiis mash-up who would prepare gourmet meals every night and never gave him sass. He didn’t quite land there.
Rick and I were not each other’s type, and that turned out to be the greatest blessing of our lives. For some reason, we ended up sitting next to each other while out to dinner with a group of mutual friends who had previously tried to set us up on dates. Neither of us was having any of that.
We had known of each other. He thought I was a high-maintenance TV diva who was afraid to break a fingernail or get dirty. His nickname is “Rocket,” which I thought was some sort of red flag (I think I read that in Cosmo or something).
Thank God we both left our “they” voices at home.
I had looked across the table and saw the most beautiful brown eyes I’d ever seen in my life. It was his dog, Maggy. He had her picture on his phone. I had my Otis and Barkley on my phone. At some point, our guards were not only down, they were gone.
After our friends were long gone and the restaurant was closing, Rick walked me to my car. He leaned in and kissed me on the forehead. It wasn’t a kiss from a prince on a white horse; it was so much better, and it woke me from a long stupor. That was exactly ten years ago on January 22.
“They” said it wouldn’t last. Who are “they” anyway? Listen to your heart – there is a reason you see the darn things everywhere all February long.