What could I say? I couldn’t ask him for the one present I wanted most. Warren and I had been dating for nearly nine years and had been discussing getting married "some day" for months. I was convinced that Valentine’s Day was going to be the day he proposed, but it seemed I was wrong.
We spent the afternoon window-shopping. Warren offered to buy me a Bridal magazine. By that time, I was disappointed and frustrated enough to reply, "I wanted a real present, not some dumb magazine." Despite my childish behavior, Warren went out of his way to make dinner a special event. We had lobster and champagne at a wonderful restaurant. As good as the food, the ambiance, and the company were, my mood only improved marginally. Every time I tried to talk about our relationship, he changed the subject. We ended our day with a romantic movie. Warren couldn’t seem to sit still. He spent as much time in the lobby as he did seated next to me holding my hand.
By the time the movie ended, it was nearly midnight. I dozed off on the trip home, only to wake up in Warren’s mother’s driveway. I could see that Warren was tired too, so I didn’t understand why he didn’t just take me home. It struck me as slightly odd that she was expecting us, but only slightly. His Mom was always glad to see us.
As soon as we had our coffee, he insisted that I teach his mother how to use a video camera. He told me that she wanted to make a videotape of a house she was trying to sell and flattered me with the claim that I was a better teacher than he was I showed my mother-in-law the controls and then she said she wanted to try it herself. She had me sit on the couch and she started the camera.
If you watch the tape, you can see that I’m in a bad mood. That’s putting it mildly. I was fuming. If I was a cartoon, smoke would have been streaming from my ears. Frankly, if I were Warren, I would have started looking for a less temperamental girlfriend. Instead, he sat next to me and made one of the most romantic speeches I’ve ever heard. It ended with, "I might not be the richest man in the world, or the handsomest, but you would make me the happiest man in the world, and the luckiest if…"
At this point, he got down on one knee and finished, "If you answer yes to the question, will you marry me?"
Of course, I started to say, "Yes!"
Warren gently placed a finger on my lips and said, "Wait. I wanted to propose on Valentine’s Day, but we both have to work. Now, if you don’t care, if you don’t want to be able to say we got engaged on Valentine’s Day, go ahead and say yes."
I took a deep breath, but he continued, "On the other hand, if you wait to give me the official answer until Monday, then we can say that we were officially engaged on Valentine’s Day."
I agreed. What woman wouldn’t want to be able to say she got engaged on Valentine’s Day? We were married six months later. That was ten years ago. A few Valentine’s Days ago, we watched the tape with Matthew, who was about three at the time. I don’t think he completely understood the significance of his father’s speech, but he certainly understood the part about "Mommy’s kissing Daddy!"
Irene Smith – Port Jervis, NY