Valentine’s Day marked for us our first full day in Texas. Being a very LARGE state, it will require much time to drive through it. Though not nearly enough time (did I just have deja vu?), we will be spending about 3 weeks in the state. Our basic itinerary is as such:
Feb. 15-19: Belton (Asher’s Birthday is on the 18th).
Feb. 20-23: Amistad National Recreational Area (including a border crossing into Mexico).
Feb. 24-26: San Antonio and The Alamo.
Feb. 27-28: Austin.
March 1-2: Waco (including Waco Mammoth National Monument).
March 3-6: Dallas/Fort Worth- Visiting friends and family.
March 7-8: Traveling to Kansas city to see Mel’s brother, Matt, and his family.
Not giving much thought to Feb. 14th when we originally planned this itinerary, we found that our regular Valentine’s Day routine would be unlike any other we have ever had during our 14 years as a married couple. A typical Valentine’s Day for us normally consists of farming our children out to a babysitter or grandma and grandpa (overnight in many cases), and dinner for two at our favorite restaurant. Afterwords, we might go out for a movie or hang out at our favorite gathering spot, often time till midnight or later. We would return home to children already asleep in bed (or better yet, no kids at all) giving us an excuse to put each other to bed instead of the children.
All these thoughts were pleasant distant dreams to me the morning I awoke this year on Feb 14th, 2019. I could hear the sounds of cars driving around us in the Walmart parking lot, where we had parked and stayed the night before. It was a travel day for us. I did some early morning grocery shopping before we spent the rest of the day driving. We stopped at a state park in Texas, where the kids played at a large play ground and we ate lunch. Because we were running low on water in our fresh water tank I had to fill up three – one gallon water jugs at the park drinking fountain to supply us with the water we would need for the rest of the day. It was just past 2 pm when we left the park. We had over three hours of driving ahead of us. Just after 6 pm, we pulled into a truck stop where I was able to dump our dirty tanks and fill up on fresh water.
It you didn’t catch the weight of what was just said, I will say it again, another way. Instead of getting ready to go on a Valentine’s date alone with my bride, I was pumping poop out of our RV. Very romantic indeed.
Once that was over, we drove a short distance longer, where we camped along side the noisy I-35 interstate at a rest stop nearly taken over by idling truckers. Now almost 7 pm, we still had the chore of making dinner and putting the kids to bed. Once in bed the kids continued to bounce around like jumping beans due to several naps they had taken while we drove earlier in the day. I was all too pleased when they finally settled down.
I write all this to get to the point I am finally trying to make. Though I have accurately described the day without exaggeration (this is a hard thing for me to do) I have intentionally painted this picture to create a contrast. The contrast is this: Though Mel and I were not privileged with a babysitter, dinner out, or a movie to ourselves, our Valentine’s Day this year will be remembered like no other. After a hard days travel we settled down together with a glass of red wine and dark chocolate. We traded cards and poems that we had written one another earlier. And though we laughed at the irony of the time and place of our date together, we both agreed that this Valentine’s Day might be the best, more memorable Valentine’s we have had in our 14 years of marriage. I love you, Mel- Happy Valentine’s Day.