Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day (or an excuse, as some couples might say) to celebrate you and your partner’s love for one another. A lot can happen in a year and sometimes we get carried away with our kids, our family, work, and just the many surprises life throws at us that we sometimes forget to celebrate moments with our significant other, simply because there are just too many other important things to do.
Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to set everything aside and just focus on what that day is all about — LOVE.
Now, I don’t claim to be the expert of love by any means, but I can tell you that it IS possible to find it in the most unusual ways. Not only that, LOVE, no matter how flowery it sounds in the beginning, can be hard work. However, it is LOVE that can help you grow and get through many of the most difficult trials in your life. LOVE can make happily ever afters possible.
Here’s My Story
Here’s a true story of serendipity. After you’ve read it, I’ll tell you how it turned out just after only 6 years of marriage:
I was sitting down, attempting to read about polar bears on my newly purchased National Geographic and ready for the plane to take me back to Orange County when I heard the voice of the man sitting right next to me ask, “reading anything interesting?”
I couldn’t help smiling after listening to his English accent. I was 27 years old and had traveled all over the United States, but still, that was the first time I had actually heard an English accent right in front of me. I was immediately fascinated and just wanted him to keep talking.
The 3.5 hours of flight time from Houston to Orange County didn’t seem to take as long as it normally did. In fact, I almost didn’t want it to end. At the end of the flight, we exchanged business cards and went on our way.
At the time, my job required me to travel 90% of the time. On Friday nights, I would fly back home. Then on Sunday mornings I would fly back to Houston or wherever the job required me to go. I didn’t have time for friends or acquaintances for that matter. So when he wasn’t looking, I got rid of his business card, thinking I would never see him again.
I did, however, receive a voice message from him, which I saved just so I could hear his English accent whenever I wanted to. I thought it would be a good way to remember the first English man I’d ever met! Sadly, though, I didn’t call him back.
Two weeks later, I was sent to New York City for an assignment. Our preference for hotels were always the Marriott. My colleagues and I always banked on the points, especially since we usually stayed for an entire week. At the time, my team and I couldn’t find one in the city to accommodate all 8 us. So we decided to book one in New Jersey instead.
After completing our assignment a day earlier than we expected, my manager decided it would be a good treat to take us all out for sushi and drinks. And boy, did we all have a lot to drink!
After celebrating, we all called it a night and went back to our rooms. It was only 8pm and I was bored and half drunk. So I decided to flip through my phone and see if there was anyone I wanted to chat with.
After a while, my eyes started to feel strained and I struggled to see through my beer goggles. So I thought of putting my phone down, but suddenly remembered the guy with the nice English accent.
I called my voicemail and listened to the message he left. I listened to it at least 5 times before I memorized his phone number (an automated woman said the number before each time I listened to the message).
Now I don’t know if blaming it on the alcohol is all true, but I finally decided to call him. It went straight to his voicemail and so I left one that went something like this, “hi, I’m sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I know you said you’re in New York a lot and just thought I’d say hello since I’m here in the East Coast and pretty close to New York. Thought I’d just call and say hello since it’s reminded me of you!”
There really wasn’t much to do after that so I flipped through channels on the tv and waited until my buzz wore off before I tried to go to sleep (I always felt like going to bed while intoxicated would likely result in a hangover).
A couple of hours after I’d love the message, my phone rang. “Hi Ka-lyn (he always said it without the r), I just got your message. Sorry I missed your call. I was actually in the airplane when you called. I’m also in the East Coast. I’ll be in New York tomorrow.”
“Wow! I’ll be in New York tomorrow as well! I’m actually in New Jersey right now.” I replied.
“No way! I’m in New Jersey! I’ve actually just checked into my hotel room.” he said sounding a bit shocked.
“I’m staying at the Marriott,” I responded.
“Wait, are you staying at the Saddle Brook Marriott by chance?”
“Ye-e-s-s…” I started to get goose bumps then.
“Well, I’m actually staying at the same hotel!” He said sounding a little more excited.
“Yes, go ahead and pick up your room phone and dial room … ”
So I did just that and sure enough! He answered the phone! What were the chances I was going to be in the exact same hotel with this guy who lived in the same county as me, clear across the country, and of all places we end up at the exact same hotel at the exact same time!
I remember it being almost 10 pm when we decided to meet at the bar downstairs. From the bar, we then hung out at the lounge, where we hung out until about 2am. You could only imagine how functional I’d felt the next day then. After that, we went our separate ways.
That morning into work, we were all told we could try to book an earlier flight home. Excited (because I usually arrived home late on Fridays), I got on the phone right away. I was able to get a flight much earlier than usual, but I would have had to give up my first-class seat, which I didn’t care about as long as I was able to get home!
I got into the plane and turned to my right as someone tapped me on my arm and said, “Hi Ka-lyn.”
You could imagine my surprise and red cheeks as I smiled at him. Now, I’m not quite sure how we ended up at the back of the plane, but after it took off, we hung out just in front of the toilet area.
He asked the stewardess if it was ok to switch places with the passenger sitting next to me. He said he would give up his first-class seat if he could sit next to me. He’s 6’2″ so this, I know, was a big thing for him, because those seats in the back are always very uncomfortable for him.
We were told for security reasons, they could not allow him to switch places with anyone. However, they did allow us to hang out in the back for as long as there wasn’t turbulence.
We were standing for about 3 hours when we decided it was maybe time to finally sit down. After I sat down, the man steward came to me and said, “ma’am, the lady sitting next to you is always one of our airline’s stewardess. Because of this, it IS alright for your friend to come and sit next to you.”
“Oh, if you wouldn’t mind asking him, that would be great!” I said, finding myself actually getting excited.
We did the switch and he sat next to me until we flew home. It was the best flights I’d ever had!
Years later, we told this story at our wedding and nobody believed us. Nobody believed all of that would happen by chance for two people.
Sounds lovely and perfect, right? Well, it absolutely IS NOT!
We have had our share of ups and downs. Sometimes the downs can truly get us down. We found out over the years just how different we really are. However, we do love each other regardless of those differences. It may not always be perfect, but we do love each other.
At the end of the day, we think about everything we’d been through and understand that regardless of our problems, we do have one thing in common – our love for each other.
Marriage is Hard Work
Marriage is hard work. Sometimes (especially many women) we see old couples, holding hands, sitting at a benching and just staring with smiles as the world goes by. We watch them and say, “I want to find that special someone I could share that moment with.” Little do we all know that this couple may have lived in really difficult times and have had their share of breakups and debacles. They just worked hard to get through them all.
So if you’ve got someone special in your life, don’t hesitate to make this the day you let them know just how you feel! Have a great Valentine’s Day! It’s your one day to fuss about your love for one another!