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Our Valentine's Day Story

alec vanderboom

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I had our first Valentine's Day Date. We had only met three weeks beforehand at a bar in Madison, Wisconsin. I was in my last semester of Law School. He was working in a Healthcare Lab and had a best friend in my Evidence Class. In February 2000, I wasn't sure yet if we counted as "boyfriend & girlfriend". We had only a handful of dates that the mostly revolved around walking in the woods amid deep snow drifts, sipping coffee at the new Starbucks coffeehouse, and watching weird foreign movies together.

Valentine's Day occurred on a Monday that year. On the Sunday beforehand, I invited "my friend" Jon to church, to hear me preach the sermon at an Episcopal Student Mass. He came to see me in the middle of a snowstorm. After the service, he gave me a manila envelopment marked "Secret Agent." Inside there was an invite to watch a DVD screening of the movie "Mission Impossible" with him at midnight.

I meet Jon on a bridge, in the snow, in between the Art School and the Law School. We walked back to my home at the Episcopal Student Co-op. We watched Mission Impossible in the public TV room I shared with 30 other roommates. Near the end of the movie, Jon and I shared our first real kiss. At that moment, Jon decided he was "in like flynn." We got engaged seven months later.

Yesterday, my husband came home from work to enjoy a three day weekend. The younger half of the Benjamin clan spent all of Friday hurting from a bad virus. When my husband kissed me and said "Happy Valentine's Day!" our 4 month old son started coughing in my arms with the most pathetic little sounds. I thought about our first kiss 15 years ago and started laughing.

"When you gave me an invited to see Mission Impossible that first Valentine's Day, I didn't realize you were inviting me into an actual Impossible Mission!"

My husband laughed easily too. "I didn't know what I was getting into either!"

It seems crazy to think that SIX people now owe their lives to a Valentine's Day kiss fifteen years ago. It's a crazy, messy, sometimes impossible task to lead a family these days. I'm grateful to find a guy who makes all the hard work worthwhile.