Today marks Owen's and my fourth Valentine's Day together though this is only the second year that we've actually been a couple. We met within our first month of college in 2007. Though we weren't very close at the time, we shared a few close friends. In 2009, Owen and I both enrolled in a traveled abroad program entitled Historical Geography of the Bible. We traveled with a group of 23 students through Greece and Turkey. After having spent this month in close proximity we developed a friendship.
On Valentine's evening 2009, Owen and I happened to run into each other, and since neither of us had anything to do that evening, he asked if I would be interested in going to Perkins. As a lover of spontaneity, I couldn't resist the offer. He ordered a chocolate chip cookie, I ordered a hot chocolate, and we had a great conversation. I remember that he said one thing in particular that really changed how I thought of him: he said something like, "yeah, I think that spending my high school years with my grandparents made me a little socially awkward..."
For some reason, self-awareness is like a forgive-all for me; like, if a boy is a dork but thinks he's hot stuff he's annoying, but a dork who knows he's a dork is actually kind of cool. Owen's not completely socially awkward, but he has a few weird communication habits, and hearing that he had an awareness of this made me more accepting of that. After I returned to my dorm for the night, I remember texting one of my friends that I might have a crush on Owen. A few days later, I overheard one of our friends ask Owen what he had done for Valentine's Day, and his response was, "Nothing." Well, the crush ended there... for a little while.
Somewhere between Valentine's Day 2009 and Valentine's Day 2010, we had a falling out, which involved Owen rejecting me insisting that he didn't want us to mess up our friendship. Angry and embarrassed, I told him that I needed a break from his friendship. We patched things up in January 2010, so by Valentine's Day, our friendship was still fragile, but Owen was very happy to have me in his life again. When we bumped into each other on Valentine's evening 2010, he jumped on the opportunity to repeat our friend date from the year before. This time, I could tell that he like-liked me. He spoke about providence bringing us together, and I listened without really knowing what to think about his assertion that we were somehow meant to bump into each other that night. Though maybe he knew what he was talking about because a month later we started dating.
Now, we think of Valentine's Day 2009 and 2010 as foreshadowing our relationship, and it continues to be a special day for us.
Actually, Valentine's Day has always been special for me. My parents were married on Valentine's Day, so my sister and I would often make dinner or save up money to treat them to dinner out for their anniversary. They always bought gifts for us as well, usually including dove chocolate roses. February 14 is like an echo of Christmas for us; it's another celebration of family and love. So, even when I was single, I always loved Valentine's Day.
I say forget "Singles Awareness Day." If you can't celebrate your own romantic relationship this year, celebrate love with friends and family, and who knows, maybe the friend you celebrate with today will be your romantic love next year.
Happy Valentine's Day!