Chronicle of Valentines Past

1987 - I believe this to be the first Valentine's Day of memory. I remember room 1B, the desks aligned in rows with each student's handmade mailbox scribbled with waxy crayon. Danny B. includes some kind of candy with all of his valentines. He is the hero of the day. 1990 - I am in fourth grade. My parents leave us little valentines at our breakfast plate, including sponge toffee from Sell's and a kite for each of us. The gesture is so sweet, it moves me even today. Hockey Boy gives me a cardboard valentine with a devil and a pitchfork that says, "You're Hot." It gives me a feeling of excitement and a bad case of the willies all at once.

1991 - My parents are separated. My mother's valentines to my sister and me are toiletry cases to go visit our dad on the weekend. Age ten is not too young to understand the irony of a token of love that represents the complicatedness of another love.

1992 - My class does screenprinting on white t-shirts in Miss Schlosser's class but my mom bought me a navy blue sweatshirt and this is so the sordid story of my life. I try to make pie with my lemons by painting my own sweatshirt. Christina Y. accidentally smudges the paint and I inexplicably burst into tears. Later, MBS and I go ice skating and we see Hockey Boy who asks us to couple skate but we turn him down because we are just that cool.

1994 - I slow dance with Morgan S. at the Student Council Valentine's Dance. I totally drag him onto the floor, the lights are totally on, I am totally wearing a red flannel shirt with my uniform skirt.

1995 - The boys' high school send over carnations through the homeroom mail. I receive one from my friend's boyfriend. It's not like that.

1998 - I am in Indianapolis with my father and sister, looking at Butler University which has given me a bundle of money, but which I am going to have to reject because I am finding this is so not the school for me, and I am freaking out about it.

1999 - I am a freshman in college and in love for the first time with Goldenboy. I make by hand a comic book for my valentine and send it to him. Don't worry, I make a copy. I receive a letter from him the next week indicating that he already has a girlfriend. I am heartbroken and numb for at least a year and a half, but whenever I find the copy of that comic book, I feel happy to have cared for someone so much.

2000 - After stalking the kicker of the football team for all of first semester, he shows up at my RA room while I am on duty - I am wearing pajama pants with stars and a '70s cardigan and Doc Martens - and he proceeds to say, Let's give this a go. He is an excellent kisser which I do not enjoy in the least because I am paranoid about the drunk freshmen that are surely burning down the building while Kicker Boy is mashing my face and I am totally going to lose my job, lose my tuition, lose out on college because I am missing this round to smooch a boy. He breaks up with me about a month later and I am disappointed and relieved all at the same time.

2001 - I am interning in DC and have dinner in Dupont Circle with my roommates and it is one of the best Valentine's Days ever. We go back to the apartment and my future husband is waiting inside, having driven from Meadville, PA to DC that afternoon. It is the bestest Valentine's Day ever.

2002 - My future husband surprises me at the Safari Bar where Lori S. and Celia N. are stalling me until he shows up, Walter having picked him up at the Pittsburgh airport just hours before. Ben in a Box gives me a rose, which is the icing on the cake.

2003 - I am clinically depressed and think my future husband is going to break up with me any day now. My future husband and I have a subpar dinner at Finale, go shopping at Urban Outfitters, and are given a bootleg CD of Jason Mraz by some guy at The Tannery. We go back to my future husband's apartment and dance to bootleg Jason Mraz. I can barely get out of bed the next day, I am so depressed.

2005 - I am engaged to my future husband. I have no memory of this year's V Day.

2008 - I give my husband a valentine "from the two girls who love you the most." We bring our 2 week-old daughter out for sushi. She does not partake.