I guess you could say that I've been procrastinating in starting my blog, but really I was simply trying to accommodate this little desire in me to make the first post on a day with a significance of some sort. The way things have timed out, I had my choice between Valentine's Day and my grandmother's 88th birthday. So here we are.
It's a little after six o'clock in the morning as I type this. At this time six years ago I was driving home in the dark, a silly grin across my face and little butterflies in my stomach that come after you've just pulled off something great. I had it planned for weeks. This was my first Valentine's Day with a Valentine, and I was going to take full advantage. Several days prior I had scoured the yellowpages until I found the biggest stuffed teddy bear in the greater Phoenix area. He was white with red hearts on his paws and, were he able to stand, would have been nearly eye level with me. As an 18-year-old, hopelessly in love, I wasn't thinking the practical thoughts that would come to my mind today. "A 5-foot, 40 pound bear. Where exactly is he going to put him?" or "Perhaps there is a more productive way to spend this $90.00." No, I thought only of Matthew, my boyfriend of 5 months, and nothing was too wonderful for him. So I hauled teddy home, imagining how great he was going to look surrounded by the 2 dozen balloons I had ordered.
The plan was simple: Get to Matthew's house before he got up for school. Leave my homemade card and a plate of blueberry muffins (still warm) on the kitchen counter. Put Teddy in the driver's seat of Matthew's car and cram any empty airspace with pink and red balloons. I had arranged with his little sister that I would tap on her window at 6:00 am and she would let me inside. This was where the only glitch came into play. Apparently her memory doesn't kick in until a few minutes after she is awakened, so upon hearing a tapping at her window she promptly jumped out of bed, ran into her brother's room, and woke him up. Fortunately for me, Matthew is not one who parts easily with an extra 15 minutes of slumber, so Rebekah was able to keep him in bed and get me in the front door. She watched me bleary-eyed as I raced around the house, carefully and thoughtfully placing out the various symbols of my love and devotion. Not more than 5 minutes after I had arrived I slipped back outside, bidding Rebekah and Teddy farwell as I drove off into the sunrise, my cell phone lying on the seat next to me in anticipation.
And now, six years and two babies later? Well, today being a Tuesday we will spend the evening surrounded by 200 other twenty-somethings as we do each week at church. Matthew will spend the day at the office and I will return to the flower shop where I once worked to help distribute over-priced roses to the masses. We won't forsake the Day entirely as we will most likely go out and celebrate on another night later in the week. But as I'm sure others would testify, Valentine's Day and all that goes with it simply does not mean what it did to us then. And that is not something I lament, because nothing has gone that has not been replaced by something greater. The silly grins have turned to knowing smiles flashed across a crowded room. The butterflies, though I still feel them now and then, have been edged out by a quiet assurance and content security. And as for Teddy? He sits on the plant shelf in our oldest daughter's bedroom, watching silently as we wake her every morning and pray over her each night. Although he may not be the most practical use of our limited space, you will never see him sitting out in one of our garage sales or in a bin for goodwill. He will remain with us always, wherever we go, as a reminder of that precious season we spent together and how faithfully God has grown us since.