A Valentine to Share

A Valentine from my dear friend, Michelle Brooks.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a bit silly for Valentine’s Day. Discovering that someone has sent me a Valentine makes me feel as excited as an eight-year-old with a decorated paper bag taped to the back of her classroom chair.

Valentine’s Day used to be a day of intense pressure for me. When I was a teenager, I was ridiculously romantic. And teenage boys are generally among the least romantic people on the planet. Even as I got older, I felt dejected on Valentine’s Day if I didn’t have a boyfriend to celebrate with. Then I got married. Again, the idea of Valentine’s Day set up expectations in my head. Or maybe it was the flower and candy and card lobbies. Funny how, as a woman, I expected the man in my life to blow me away with romance. Talk about pressure! I’m sure I was radiating it. My sweet husband used to bring me flowers, and occasionally chocolate for Valentine’s Day. But the cats always ate the flowers and vomited on the rugs. And I ate way too much chocolate when I needed to be shedding December pounds. This year we went out for a special lunch (Tuesday), and are exchanging cards. (I won’t have to feel guilty about not eating a card!) Having a Valentine’s Day plan that we happily agree on means zero pressure. We both like zero pressure.

My sweetest Valentine’s Day happened when I was in sixth grade. I was attending a new school, and hadn’t yet made many friends. Our class exchanged silly Valentines, all the while pretending we were too cool for them. And then I went home and Valentine’s Day was pretty much over. Except…After dinner there was a knock on our door, and I could see a car’s headlights parked in front of our townhouse. We didn’t get evening visitors, so it was an event. My mom answered the door, but it was for me.

A boy I’ll call Scott (not his real name) came inside carrying a box of candy. Scott was from my class, but I didn’t know him very well. He was cute, with dark red hair and tons of freckles. We stood, awkward, in my living room. I was beyond surprised, and had had no idea that he liked me in that way sixth grade boys like sixth grade girls. He couldn’t sit down because we could both see those headlights through the curtains. Not only did he bring me candy, but also a necklace with a small heart pendant that had a keyhole cut into it, and the word LOVE beside a sparkly stone beside it. I was probably too stunned to be gracious–and what does a twelve year-old-girl know about gracious, anyway? We were too rushed for chit chat, and I was embarrassed that my family could hear everything we said. I remember saying thank you. Then he was gone.

I wore the necklace, and we started hanging out together with a few other boy-girl couples in the class. It would be a stretch to say we dated. Perhaps we kissed, but I honestly don’t remember. I remember feeling confused and a little pressured because I felt obligated because of the gifts. (I did learn that his mother had picked out the necklace!) But perhaps that’s the adult me thinking. Scott never pressured me or treated me unkindly in any way. My hormones had already begun to rage, so confused was my semi-permanent state.

The memory remains one of my sweetest ones.

What’s your sweetest Valentine’s Day memory? Do tell!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


PS–Comment today (Valentine’s Day) for a chance to receive your choice of the brand new Trouble the black cat detective anthology, The Trouble With Cupid (ebook only), or a copy of Small Town Trouble!



9 thoughts on “A Valentine to Share”

  1. My sweetest Valentine memory? There was the time back in 1980-something when my husband told me for the first time that he loved me. But really, it’s hard to beat the feeling I get everyday when he kisses me. I swear, the air turns color. In the history of all the people that have ever walked the earth, among the 190 million square miles of land where billions of people are scattered, how did two such perfect soulmates find each other in this time and this place? It’s miraculous.

    The Valentine’s card your friend Michelle made is craftsy and unique and beautiful!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      What a love story, Priscilla. How wonderful that you did find each other!

  2. angeeor says:

    What lovely stories and how sweet to have found your perfect love Priscilla, I am so happy for you.
    Laura, I was unnoticed and unloved all through my primary years, that was in all girl schools and so boys did not really get on the radar until I was about 14 and in the scouts where we had mixed events.

    My friend dared me to go to a party with her when we were about 15-16, it was all very hush hush as we were meant to be in bed (I was on a sleepover). She was keen on a boy who would be there.
    It was my first ‘party’ as a girl alone, all very exciting but I did not know anyone.

    My friend pointed out the guy she liked the look of, he was pretty nice looking but we were not in the ‘inner circle’ and could hardly go and interrupt. But then a dance started called ‘la bamba’ where everyone can join in in a big circle and choose someone, a total stranger, for a little dance, a hug or a kiss. During this dance the guy in question (who’s name I do not recall) came up to me and kissed me… I was smitten and the world stopped for a few minutes.
    The platonic relationship that followed was short lived as we really had almost nothing in common but it was the first kiss and experience and that is something I remember fondly.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Life sent you a wonderful, memorable surprise. I can tell just by the writing what a heartfelt experience it was. You’ve given us a fascinating glimpse!

  3. Karen W. Johnston says:

    My sweetest Valentine’s Day happens each year when my husband finds and gives me a Valentine card. It always says something pertinent to us and I tear up. He then writes something special as well. I have saved all of them for the past 25 years and will continue to save them as long as he gives them to me.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      How romantic, Karen. Your husband sounds wonderful, and I can tell you’re a very special couple.

  4. Julia Kirmse says:

    That is such a sweet memory! I received a very expensive pink stone bracelet from a guy friend that I thought was just a regular friend. ( We were in junior high.) I was completely surprised that he felt that way about me. I’m 61 and still have that beautiful bracelet. And yes, we were a hand holding, phone talking, and note writing couple for a while.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Julia, this is so cool. What a treasure he gave you. Isn’t it funny how easily we are transported back to memorable times?

  5. Laura Benedict says:

    Thank you for all your lovely responses. Surprise!!!! Everybody gets a book. Karen, Julia, angeeor, and Priscilla, please drop me an email at laura@laurabenedict.com with the Subject line “Valentine Winner.” Include your full name and mailing address (email addy if you want an ebook), and which book in whatever format you’d like:

    Small Town Trouble, ebook or paper
    The Trouble With Cupid, ebook

    If you already have both, I can send one to a friend for you. Congratulations!

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