While preparing for the upcoming week, I accidentally took a trip down memory lane. I don’t know how it happened, but one moment I was answering important emails, the next thinking that I should write a lovely post about how much I love my children this Valentine’s Day, and then suddenly I was in the basement ripping open boxes. I was desperate to find a picture of 18 year old me on Valentine’s Day during my freshman year of college. A few things struck me as I went through my old photo album:
1. Some of my favorite friends from freshman year are completely out of my life. I need to fix that.
2. I was thin and had no idea. I’d like to kick my 18 year old butt for thinking otherwise. And I’d like to go back and buy a bikini.
3. I am wearing the same shirt right now that I was wearing in some of those pictures from 1996. Someone needs to stage a closet intervention…
After searching through photo after photo of that amazing year, there it was. A picture of me on Valentine’s Day standing next to my friend Shannon.
That day does not stand out in my mind because it was one of the most romantic of my life or even because of a guy at all. In fact, I think that is partly why I love this Valentine’s Memory. I had been dating – and I use that term very loosely – a nice sophomore for a couple of months and having recently figured out that he was not that into me, I called the whole thing off. In walked his roommate with that come hither stare and I promptly botched a couple of good friendships as well. It was time to fly solo on what was supposed to be the most romantic day of my first year away from home, ,so I decided to act like a crazy teenager and wear all black from my thrift store polyester shirt to my black leather pants (God, where are they now!?!?), to my Doc Marten combat boots. On my way to class I bumped into my friend Shannon down the hall who was playing the same “all black on Valentine’s Day” game, and we posed for the picture that I have since unearthed from the basement boxes.
Rather than feel down or depressed about my single status, I instead felt oddly empowered. I headed to my Wednesday Calculus class, one that I often skipped because I thought it was unfair to have any class three days a week instead of two, and realized immediately that there was a test. Hating math even more than ex-boyfriends (and their roommates), I hadn’t prepared at all for the test. No worries. It was a holiday. I began the class by raising my hand and through my black lipsticked mouth uttered these words to the poor, unsuspecting professor:
“With all due respect, sir, today is St. Valentine’s Day, a national holiday. Do you really think that it’s right to administer a test to college students on a holiday? Couldn’t we take this test on Friday?”
This week I’ll be reading post after post about engagements, honeymoons, first kisses, and yes, even probably quite a few stories from moms like me who thought first this Valentine’s Day about their love for their children. But I’m grateful for that memory of my brave teenage self all those years ago on Valentine’s Day who felt like she could take on the world with nothing but the help of her friends….and a great pair of boots.