Valentine’s celebrations change over the years
by James Phillips
Feb 15, 2013 | 1423 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Phillips
James Phillips
Valentine’s Day 2013 marked the 17th Valentine’s Day that my wife, Andrea, and I have celebrated together.

How did we celebrate 17 years of Valentine’s bliss?

We took our four children to a homeschool party at the Graysville Library and then later in the day checked out a movie. We were able to leave three of the kiddos behind for the theater trip.

As I looked back at Feb. 14 over each of the past 17 years, some of those days have been very impressive. There was the time that I surprised Andrea with a limousine at her place of work, which was followed by a visit to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and a limo ride around Birmingham. There was also the time that I took her to a Broadway show and surprised her with a stay in a swanky hotel afterward.

Andrea will tell you our worst Valentine’s Day ever was in 2005. She had our second child, Breeze, about a month earlier. I planned this elaborate surprise — a video set to “Phantom of the Opera.” In the video, I played the role of the phantom thanks to a mask I bought for $1.99 on eBay. Andrea absolutely hated the video. If you want to know why she hated it so much, it’s probably still on YouTube. Just search “The Phantom of Passion.” I think there is even a blooper reel too.

Our first Valentine’s Day together stands out as one of Andrea’s favorites. We were seniors in high school, and I didn’t have a lot of money. Our romantic dinner consisted of bologna sandwiches and heart-shaped cakes baked by the world-reknowned Little Debbie. Andrea’s gifts included a dozen roses purchased at a grocery store, a children’s book entitled “Love Bugs” and a some fancy “love bird” earrings made by Avon.

Our entertainment for the night was watching “Untamed Heart,” a 1993 film starring Christian Slater, Marisa Tomei and Rosie Perez. The tag line for the film was “Girl meets boy. They fall in love. Tragedy strikes.” Doesn’t it sound like the stuff that makes a good Lifetime movie.

That first Valentine’s Day together was amazing for several reasons. I had been in love with Andrea for quite some time, and just being with her was amazing. Looking back now, I think the fact that day was so simple was also amazing.

In the 17 years that have followed, things have become a lot more hectic in our lives. With work and raising four children, our relationship can take a backseat from time to time. The one constant we’ve had is each other, and that’s what makes every day awesome for me.

As I watched our kids dancing and playing at the party Thursday, I couldn’t help but think back on the two young kids that had their first Valentine’s Day together 17 years ago. Seeing the smiles on our children’s faces reminds me of how much a single smile from their mother can make my day.

I’m writing this before we left for our movie, but I’m thinking we’ll end up watching “Safe Haven,” the new movie from the guy who made “The Notebook,” which is one of Andrea’s favorites. I’ve told her for days that I wouldn’t watch that garbage, but I’m sure that’s what I’ll purchase tickets to watch. She’s just as beautiful as the day we started dating, so I’ll probably spend more time looking at her than I do the screen any way.

No matter what we do, where we go or what we watch, it will be a great Valentine’s Day because I will have spent it with the one person who loves me no matter if we are eating bologna sandwiches or $50 steaks. She loves me whether I spend a lot of time planning for Valentine’s Day or I throw together a quick trip to the movies.

I’m just thankful to have spent 17 Valentine’s Days with the most breathtaking of all of God’s creations.

James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or