As Valentine’s Day approaches, I think back to the days when I was courting Aimee and how much I envisioned spending the rest of my life with her. I met Aimee on my very first day as a transfer student to Rowan University. I still remember the sweatshirt she was wearing, her gentle smile, and her beautiful red hair. She verified that I was indeed in the right classroom — after having a short exchange of introductions, I walked away, hoping to eventually build a friendship with the beautiful woman who, unbeknownst to anyone, would be my wife in three short years.
I remember being disappointed to learn soon after that Aimee was already seeing someone, but years later I realized that it was essential for our eventual relationship. I never put up any fronts or tried to impress, we were merely classmates, so I could just be myself. Aimee was so genuine and welcoming to me, I have to think the barrier of her being “spoken for” was to my benefit, because I had no reason to think that my actions would change her feelings and she only ever knew the “real” me.
The following fall, several key unplanned events occurred that resulted in seeing Aimee a few days in a row, and a trusted friend learned from both of us that there was mutual interest. I still remember going to campus on a day when I had no classes, hoping to bump into Aimee and perhaps work up the courage to ask her out. I never did spot her, but when she called me out of the blue to ask me a made up question about a class she was taking, I knocked an entire shelf over in my closet, trying to find my notes. During my avalanche, I distinctly remember my very sad attempt at asking Aimee to dinner. Since her intention was to ask me out anyway, she made it easy for me, and our story officially began…
To me, it was hard to imagine a girl so wonderful might be my girlfriend, much less become my wife. Aimee is smart, talented, beautiful, caring, funny, understanding, creative, and beautiful. Who could ask for more? She helped me to realize that I also have some pretty good qualities too, and I’m not embarrassed to say that she brings them out of me like no one else ever has. And if you noticed I wrote beautiful twice when describing Aimee, It was intentional — She still takes my breath away.
Fast-forward through a thousand sweet kisses, an unforgettable engagement, a beautiful wedding ceremony, a cute little apartment, a teeny-tiny shack on the outskirts of town, our first new home. New challenges — new solutions — a real team approach. As we have grown, we’ve grown together, learning new responsibilities and accepting sad realities. Realizing a combined optimism to get through every unexpected turn, we have weathered storms we never anticipated, always emerging together and happily enjoying our greatest blessings hand-in-hand.
Valentine’s Day — a day when we ask to be loved, and we share that same love to those we care for — I’m proud to say that I don’t need a holiday to remind me.
Aimee, I’m so glad you’re my Valentine.
“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu
Looking in your eyes, seeing all I need
Everything you are, is everything to me
And these are the moments I know heaven must exist
And these are the moments, I know all I need is this
I have all I've waited for… And I could not ask for more…