However, this year may stand out the most in my mind.
More flowers? Nope
Bigger boxes of chocolate? Nope
Another 'away' trip? Uh, nope again.
You see, Joel and I are in kind of an 'agreement' right now. We are working hard to pay off our mortgage ( a financial dream that we've both been thinking of for a long time), so we agreed at the beginning of the school year that we'd be pinching and scraping wherever we could. Every available penny was going into that nasty mortgage! This meant no Birthday presents, no Christmas presents (except for the kids, of course!), no date nights (at least, not ones that have to be paid for!), and *gasp!* NO valentine's day gifts. We figured we'd 'reward' ourselves next year when our 'agreement' is done with a big dinner out! But until then.......
We're half way there. Six months into our 'pact'. And, it's been hard. No running through Starbucks when I'm in town for a mid-wife appointment. No grabbing 'extra' maternity clothes that I like in the store. No replacing the ugly orange carpet in Cosette's room. No....well, the list goes on. Only the 'essentials' are being purchased this year, and nothing else. What was it one of those financial radio consultants once said? ''You have to live like you are poor, so that in the future, you can help those who really are", or something like that :)
I'm being a 'big girl' about it. Really, I am! We made this pact, this agreement together. But, last night, as I imagined today with no chocolate, no dinner out, not even a card, I had just a moment of doubt. I laid my head on my husband's lap and said "Please remind me again, Love, WHY are we doing this? I seem to have forgotten!"
He laughed and said "We are doing this so that this mortgage will be paid off and we'll be rid of our debt. We're doing this so that we have more freedom to actually buy a house that better meets our needs in the future. We're doing this so that we have 'spare' money in the future to reach out more with, to do more ministry, to help those in need."
Oh yeah. I remember now.
And so, I'm getting myself through this Valentine's Day and acting like a grown-up about it. Fancy chocolate and flowers, I have not! An Outback baked potato and raspberry cheesecake---it's just a vision in my head! But, I DO have this----the most incredible husband alive, who is ALSO making sacrifices to do the best, wisest, thing for his family. I can still go cuddle up next to him on the couch, even without the vase of roses on the table. And every time little Toucan kicks or squirms inside me, I'm reminded that my husband loves me enough to make hard decisions.
And in the future, when we are more free to give to this or that ministry, when we are actually in the house that I imagine with the wooden banister and mantel, then I will look back on this Valentine's Day, and remember with happiness the lack of flowers and chocolate. THIS Valentine's Day is so full of love, that the absense of those things is trivial :)
Thank you, Joel, for being the man that you are! I love you, not only on Valentine's Day, but always!!