Twelve years ago, my heart was stolen by that handsome fella in the picture above. We attended Junior year homecoming “together,” Senior year homecoming together, went together to our Senior Prom, and walked each other to our lockers. We broke up once (for a few hours), kissed before we were *officially* boyfriend & girlfriend, helped each other with homework (ahem), and he ate my family’s leftovers a lot.
I fell in love with an unlikely suitor for me – long[ish] hair, Metallica & heavy metal band t-shirts, combat boots, and the like. Think Heath Ledger in “Ten Things I Hate About You” minus the Australian accent. Three years after our first date on Valentine’s Day 2003, we planned to spend the day the way we usually did – a walk around Navy Pier in Chicago & dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
Leading up to that day, Jim left a CD of songs on my car’s windshield (music I didn’t recognize) and his beater car took it’s last mobile breath. With this unexpected [huge] expense, Jim prepared me for Valentine’s Day by letting me know that his gift this year would not be substantial because of the car and that we’d just enjoy each other’s company.
We headed downtown (a bit earlier than was typical) and actually had lunch at Joe’s BeBop Cafe where Jim gave me my gift – a picture frame with some sentiment about soul mates (isn’t that AWFUL that I can’t recall right now?) and my all-time favorite candy – a Reese’s Peanut Butter heart. I was thrilled! Suddenly, after lunch, Jim took a glance outside and then grabbed my hand. He started RUNNING and *dragging* me all the way towards the outside of the Pier! The only thing outside that was of any value to me was the Ferris Wheel, but because of the cold Chicago winters, it’s always closed.
Imagine my surprise when we burst through the doors to the outside to where I see the gigantic spinning Ferris Wheel – lit up and turned ON! With no one around, Jim paid for our trip and we grabbed our seat. He sat across from me (which I thought was VERY strange considering we were on a date!) As we moved towards the top, he reminded me about his lack of gifts and reminded me of the question he asked me every Valentine’s Day – “Will you be my Valentine?” He told me when we got to the top, he had to ask me a question and I immediately (and ONLY) thought it was his typical question.
As I looked out at the city, I turned back to find us at the tip top of the Ferris Wheel on our solo ride and my then-boyfriend was on bended knee – in the Ferris Wheel – and then he said – “Will you be my Forever Valentine?” I was shocked! My first thought (and question) went to my dad – “Did you ask him?!” Indeed, he had. He again asked the question and asked for an answer to which I said, “YES!” and we made our descent.
He had truly surprised me! We spent the rest of the night at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for dinner and in the Grand Ballroom with the March of Ides (hence the CD). We have shared nine more Valentine’s Days since then and almost eight years in marriage. He is still my forever Valentine.