Love, Appreciation and an Unhappy Valentine?

There I was, in my early 20s… I was on one of the most memorable Valentine dates I have ever had. It wasn’t memorable because of some big love thing. In fact, it turned into my worst nightmare, an unappreciative woman.

Like I said, I was in my early 20s, just out of college, broke as hell, and in my first professional job. I took my girlfriend at the time, out to an expensive dinner, bought her a card and flowers, gave her a box of candy, and picked out a corny, but thoughtful stuffed animal, just for her. I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then here she comes. I pull up to drop her off at her parents’ house to say goodbye for the night. She says with a straight face, “You know… Today was Valentine’s Day and I don’t feel like you did enough. (pause) My birthday is next week. I will not be disappointed…” She said it in some deep dark tone. WTF came out of my mouth like smoke rings from a cigarette! You guessed it, she spent her birthday and next Valentine’s without me.

That was an old girlfriend. When it’s your wife it ain’t so simple. There I was in my early 30s. I had just gotten married, but we were still living in separate states. We decided it would be better if I moved to Jersey, seeing that my wife had a better job.

Now at the time, I was working at ESPN, working some 12 hour days. Valentine’s Day showed up. I said to myself, “I’m gonna surprise my new wife with a dozen roses, hand delivered by me.” That’s right, from Connecticut all the way to New Jersey. Two states away, knowing I had a 12-hour shift ahead of me. Inspired, I got up early, got the keys, got the roses, and hit the road.

Traffic was all jacked up. I missed a construction sign and ended up in Queens. I knew my way around so I was able to get back on track. It took an extra three hours in traffic, but still, I was determined. Finally, I get to her doorstep in Jersey unannounced. A two-hour drive just took five. She is shocked and ecstatic to see me. Hugs, kisses, roses, and I had to hit the road immediately to make it to work in Connecticut on time.

Boom! I’m in the fast lane in my Toyota, and I get a call. I’m feeling like the man! Of course, it’s my wife. She says, “By the way, just so you know. I don’t like red roses…” Ok, have you ever laughed but it’s one of those “Oh s**t” laughs? You guessed it, she meant it.

Now, I am not saying men are perfect. In fact, I was in the grocery store the other day looking for baby shampoo to wash our family dog. I was in the soap/shampoo aisle and asked the stock guy where it was. He said it’s in the baby aisle on the other side of the store. I got mad and started complaining about my wife and her baby shampoo. An older lady overheard everything, and yo did she let me have it! She said, “Women get stuck doing this and women get stuck doing that!” She said, “We put up with this and we put up with that!” I’m paraphrasing. “Now go get the damn baby shampoo!”

I had to admit she was right. Nobody is perfect. Not men or women. We have to appreciate one another. I remember working at a hospital, and one of the nurses was all upset because her boyfriend got her a birthday card for Valentine’s Day! Was it the love that counts or was it time to bounce? Is “a” Valentine, better than no Valentine?

To give you another example of appreciation gone amuck, our daughter has a math tutor. On Super Bowl Sunday, we needed the tutor to come help with my daughter’s homework. She tells us, “I’ll come, but it will have to be early, I have to cook for the Super Bowl.” Yeah, she was hooking her man up with some wings and whatever!

I was like, “Ain’t that some… How come my woman ain’t cooking for me?” With bravado, I confronted my wife about it. She calmly said, “You don’t even know who is playing,” and quietly snatched my man-card. It was true, I had no clue who was playing except the Patriots. Keep in mind, I used to work at ESPN. Touché sweetheart.

What love really comes down to is appreciation. There is plenty of blame and accusation to go around. Sometimes men are right, and yes ladies, women are always right.

Unhappy, crappy or whatever you want to call it kinda Valentine, make sure you have a good one even if it’s bad. If you hate red roses, or if your man didn’t do enough, send him to get some baby shampoo.

Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day.