Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day is such a ridiculous thing.

We all know that the only reason there is such a day is so that the greeting card people can make money from the sad fact that not everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend in February. They figure by throwing in a lovey-dovey holiday in the fall, they're at least getting one romantic greeting card a year out of you. Surely, if you don't have someone special on February 14, you will have someone who wants to hold your hand while the leaves are changing color.

Sweetest Day was not really on my mind Saturday. I saw the balloons floating all over the place at the grocery store, and saw it advertised on a flower shop's marquee, but it didn't click until dinner Saturday when dear hubby reached over and grabbed my hand at the dinner table.

"Happy Sweetest Day, dear," he said.

"Oh, yeah. You, too. That's why I made fettucine alfredo. It's our 'romantic' dinner tonight with the kid." It totally wasn't why I made that for dinner; I really just wanted to get my cheese on.

"Remember that date we had at Olive Garden when we were kids and had fettucine alfredo for the first time?"

Ahh. How could I forget? It wasn't on Sweetest Day, but rather on our one-year dating anniversary when we were all of juniors in high school. We got dressed up and then, since neither of us had driver's licenses yet, met up on a bus that would take us to our restaurant. I remember that dress shorts were in fashion, and I was wearing a pair of unfortunate dark orange wool shorts. Seriously. I thought I was so cute.

I felt on top of the world that night. Earlier in the day, during some free time in chemistry, I used my teacher's state-of-the-art Apple computer to create an anniversary card for Jason. It was such a new and complicated program that I had a classmate help me.

"Wow. I can't believe you two have been together a year. I guess things are pretty serious?" My computer helper, an "it" girl who I used to be close friends with until she became uberpopular with the boys, gave me a mischievious look that made me blush.

"Well, yeah. But not like you're thinking." I could barely get the words out; I was such an innocent little thing, sexy orange wool shorts notwithstanding.

The look on her face changed; I think she was actually jealous. "He must really love you."

As Jason and I enjoyed one of our first romantic dinner together, and he footed the bill from his meager Kroger bagger earnings, I knew that he really did. And I was one of the luckiest girls in the world. 

Fast-forward to the present day. We never have much celebrated Sweetest Day, but talking about that big date to Olive Garden (and how we met up after with our friends at the mall yogurt shop where a few of us worked in high school, because that's just the kind of crazy kids we were) and telling our daughter a little about our early years made it special.

But the real sweetest days are all the days between the holidays and special occasions.

Yesterday Ainsley got off the bus with a present for me. Made from a piece of paper towel left over from some class activity, it was a little homemade stapled envelope of the kind we used to have to make for Valentine's cards in elementary school. At the top she'd written, "I love you! From: Ainsley" and inside the pocket was a little red cut-out heart.

Who needs a greeting card holiday when you get that kind of love on a random Monday?

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