Valentine’s Day Massacre

With the upcoming Hallmark holiday on the horizon, it’s fun to see how people view the day — there’s such a wide variety of attitudes about it.

I think for years, I have secretly envied couples who get dolled up and head out among the masses, just to show off that they, indeed, are in love (or like or lust). For the first time in years, Jeff made a reservation at a local hot spot and booked us a sitter. Strangely enough, I’m torn about that — enjoying that my husband still wants to make such a gesture after all these years, but compelled to cancel it because it’s just not practical, I mean come on, it’s a school night!

But no matter what we do, I know it will not go down in the record books as my worst Valentine’s Day ever. Somewhat because I have no expectations of romantic excellence, just because the calendar says it’s February 14th, ┬ábut mostly because my worst Valentine’s Day ever happened already — in 2002.

It was going to be a big deal.

My then-boyfriend and I were going out to a new place with great reviews, in the heart of an artsy district in Los Angeles. I had received a sizable gift certificate to Macy’s the Christmas before and was going to use it all to buy myself a dress that would live up to the rest of the occasion. My boyfriend picked me up and we stopped off at a little place for a pre-dinner cocktail.

The night was going perfectly. Dinner was exquisite. The mood was romantic and flirtatious. As we sipped champagne and shared a dessert, he leaned over and whispered. “Let’s finish up. I have a gift for you back at the house.”

“Oh. My. God.” I thought. This is IT.

As we drive back to my place, I can’t help but let my wind wander… were my parents still awake on the east coast, I can’t wait to tell them… when would we be married? My palms were sweating with excitement over what was to come — this night would be unforgettable!

We arrive at my house and he opens the door for me. He leads me toward my bedroom and I am barely breathing. As he opens the door, I see it sitting on my bed, displayed like it’s as precious as the Hope Diamond — and pretty much the same size.

It was a boom box.

Huh? Was it there to play romantic music as he dropped to one knee?

Nope. It was the gift. That’s right, the boom box WAS. THE. GIFT.

I couldn’t help but admit to my disappointment, I mean I was weeping openly — it wasn’t like I was hiding it well. As I wiped the tears from my embarrassed, yet devastated eyes, he softly said.

“I’m sorry, I thought you would like it. It plays MP3 CDs.”

That’s right, ladies. It plays MP3 CDs.

That CD player still remains in this house, lulling the boys to sleep every night. What also remains in this house, is that story… shared every Valentine’s Day as we laugh at how much life has changed since then.

What was your most memorable Valentine’s Day?

5 Random Wedding Fun Facts

 On this, the 8th anniversary of our wedding… I thought it was only appropriate to write about the day it all began. So here are 5 random fun facts about the nuptials of Jeff and Jackie. 

1. A broken water main almost took down the entire day. While I barely finished bathing before it happened, our wedding party and some guests were thiiiiis close to coming to the wedding sans showers. At the same time, the reception location was freaking out that they had no running water or ice.

Everything was resolved just in time.

2. I stepped in dog poop. Yup, just minutes after being pronounced husband and wife, my shoe was joined in holy matrimony with the droppings of one messy canine. And like some of our guests, my shoe was trashed well before the night was actually over.

3. Quaint and charming = musty and cold. While we enjoyed our beautiful stay in the main house of the New England inn, it never occurred to the owners to turn on the heat in the surrounding buildings before our guests arrived and filled the oceanside rooms. And while the day of our wedding enjoyed pretty mild weather (50s), as the sun went down, it was well below freezing and the next day was in the teens.

4. I bought my second wedding gown just five days before the wedding. It’s true. When I put on my gown the Monday before the event, I thought I was going to vomit. I looked like a football player — and I’m not talking a quarterback or a kicker. I looked awful. But as I started to panic, I turned my head and there it was… a beautiful, simple dress in my size, with nary an alteration to be made. And I kid you not, it was on sale for 250 bucks. The first dress? I sold it on ebay to a woman who absolutely loved it.

5. We were married in the church that was featured in The Perfect Storm. So I guess in a roundabout kind of way, I’m kind of like George Clooney’s girlfriend, right? (Sorry, honey, couldn’t resist.)

So, tell me a fun fact about your wedding or relationship!

A Decade to Remember

December 31, 1999 I was sitting in a rented RV at a Disney World campground. Way back in the ’80s, my father had the idea for all of us Morgans (13 kids) and our future families to spend the momentous occasion all together at the very spot we enjoyed year after year during my childhood. (Yes, the whole crew would pack up in the RV and head down to Florida during our spring vacation. Still not sure how they pulled that one off.)

I remember standing on the beach that night, a 28 year-old single girl, looking around at all of my brothers and sisters, some married with kids already grown and starting their own lives, others of us still wondering what the future had in store. I dreamed of bringing my own family on that trip, slightly terrified that I would never realize that dream.

December 31, 2009 Here I am ten years later.
The friend I called from that Florida trip to wish a happy birthday is now my husband. I carried two handsome (and enormous) boys… and experienced the roller coaster that is international adoption. I faced my own mortality and made a commitment to my family to live each day grateful for the gifts I’ve been given. I worked hard, made tremendous progress in my career and then walked away, taking a huge risk, to begin a new professional life that I believe in with every fiber of my being.

I’ve watched my hair turn grayer, the wrinkles multiply and my hands look like they belong to some woman in her late 30s. What was black and white a decade ago now has so many shades of gray and I’ve learned to never say never. The perfect day includes time with well-behaved kids (here’s to hoping) and date night is sometimes a Target run with my husband. My expectations have been tweaked and my skin has grown thicker. My weight still fluctuates those five to ten pounds but I work to be strong and healthy and worry less about looking how someone else thinks I should.

Ten years. I have felt tremendous pain and the most exhilirating happiness. I have sacrificed, compromised, fought for what I believe in and created waves. I’ve learned tough lessons, and have been humbled by life’s challenges. I am grateful for the past, working to live in the present and planning for the future. I’ve taken life by the throat, and been kicked to the curb. I’ve seized opportunity and sometimes missed the boat. I grown stronger, yet softer… more giving, yet protective. I’ve lived. I’ve loved. And to bring me to this moment, I’d do it all over again.

Happy New Year.

Pardon My (Dis)Appearance

Remember those stones from a few weeks ago? Tomorrow, they’ll be removed from by body — along with my gallbladder — by who I can only imagine is a Luke Skywalker-channeling, saber-toting surgeon who uses boring surgeries like mine to brush up on his Star Wars skills. I told you he’s young and cute… he’s probably still into Star Wars, right?

Anyway, so my lying around in bed for a day or so could do one of two things: A. actually force me to do the one thing I’ve avoided over the past few years — rest… or B. make me crazy and force me to blog all the craziness that I’ve been meaning to tell you about over the past couple of months.

It’s anybody’s guess, wouldn’t you say?