February is a pretty jam-packed month. You have Black History month, Groundhogs day, the Super Bowl, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, President’s Day, Chinese New Year, Cancer Prevention Awareness month, American Heart month, Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s Day. I’m not a giant fan of Valentine’s Day but it has become a day that I will never forget. I shared on our Instagram page a couple of days ago that Valentine’s Day holds a special place in my heart. Here’s why…
When I started “talking” to Graham in January, 2012 it was really difficult to find a day that we could actually meet and go on a date. You see, he worked a 9 to 5 (more like a 6:30-2:30) Monday-Friday at State Farm and I worked retail pretty much every night after class. It just so happened that the only day off I had the week he wanted to take me out was Tuesday, February 14, 2012, Valentine’s Day. He didn’t even realize it was Valentine’s Day, so it was really hard for him to make a reservation anywhere. We ended up meeting at Michael’s restaurant in downtown Bloomington. I remember being on the phone with my sister and her fiancé (he’s my brother-in-law now) freaking out because I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t want to go. I think I stayed on the phone with Allyson and Dustin while they were giving Mason (who was not even 2 months old) a bath. I was stalling. This was the FIRST time I was meeting Graham, and I’m socially awkward with people I do know. To say I was terrified is an understatement. I got off the phone with Allyson and Dustin (I think they made me hang up), got out of my car and walked towards the door. Graham was waiting for me. Looking back, he was just as nervous as I was, I just didn’t know him well enough to see the nerves. We sat down at our table, the hostess gave me a red rose (I think that’s when Graham realized it was Valentine’s Day 😉) I ordered a salad because I was worried if I ate anything else, I would spill it all over myself (after the date I went home and ate pizza bread from Avanti’s… I was starving) and he ordered this weird pasta thing with peas in it. After we ordered, we just started talking (well, he started the conversation because I’m socially awkward even when I’m not nervous). We mainly talked about my nephew, Mason, who was the main man in my life at that point, and his cousin’s kids. I showed him all the pictures of Mason and I specifically remember him showing me a few pictures of his cousin’s daughter, Faith (who ended up being the flower girl in our wedding). He asked me about school and what my future goals were. He tried to tell me about his job, but that corporate world went over my head. At one point during the date, I remember him taking off his glasses and wiggling them around to show me how durable/unbreakable they were. I thought it was funny. Other people probably looked at him like what in the world is he doing. In true Graham fashion, he told a lot of “dad jokes” that I thought were funny at the time (now I have heard them all about 10,000 times). I could tell right away that we were totally opposites. He was an outgoing extrovert and I was a shy introvert (why did he like me?). But I had never felt so comfortable and happy talking to someone so different than me. And that was it. Since Tuesday, February 14, 2012, we’ve been together.
In October, 2013, he bought a small condo in Bloomington and we moved in together. I knew then, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Graham. He is everything I’m not. He’s confident, always optimistic, outgoing, not afraid of change, a big kid. He brought out the best in me (and still does). I may have hinted at getting engaged really early on in our relationship. Graham always said I gave him the “marriage” look (whatever that is).
Flash forward to Friday, February 14, 2014. I was at work watching all of the flower deliveries come in (I work in a building FULL of women… there were A LOT of flower deliveries) expecting mine to come any minute. It never came. I got home and there was no gift there either. I was a major brat, and got mad. He took me out to dinner at Michael’s where we had our first date. I gave him the silent treatment most of the way to the restaurant. When we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess again gave me a red rose. This time, I was irritated that I got the rose. Like the hostess at a restaurant can give me a flower, but you can’t? I wanted to get over my annoyance/anger. I tried talking to Graham about the usual stuff. Our days, what we wanted to do over the weekend, etc. but he was acting so strange. He was looking around the restaurant saying “Audriana, everyone is staring at us!” He said that a good five times and my response was “literally no one is looking at us, Graham.” He continued to act weird. He was super quiet and basically just looked around at everyone in the restaurant the whole time we were eating. He didn’t even finish his dinner. As soon as we got the check, we paid it and left. I was more irritated with him at that time than I was when got home that day. When we got to the car Graham noticed someone struggling to get their car out of the snow. So, of course, he gets out to help (if you don’t know Graham… he will help ANYONE! He’s the guy that wants to help everyone standing on a corner with a sign). He pushed that car for a good 10 minutes. When he finally got back in the car, he tried to make small talk, but I just stayed quiet. We got home and I sat down on the couch. I was annoyed and ready for the night to be over. Graham started playing “All of Me” by John Legend on his phone and came into the living room. That’s when I saw the ring box. I instantly started crying (and felt like THE biggest jerk). He said A LOT of really sweet things that I struggle to remember because I was so mad at myself for ruining the evening. He explained to me why he was acting so weird. He wanted to propose to me at the restaurant, but his nerves got the best of him (and he really did feel like people were staring at us). He told me he got Allyson’s permission before he asked me, which is something I will never forget because Dustin asked my permission before he proposed to Allyson. I always say that we probably have the worst proposal story out there. He could’ve totally changed his mind about wanting to marry me that night, but I am so glad he didn’t.
That’s our Valentine’s Day story. Although we gave up the Valentine’s Day anniversary (thank goodness, it’s cheesy) when we got married in May, 2015, Valentine’s Day will forever hold a special place in my heart. After all, it is the day I met and got engaged to the love of my life.
Photos by Katelyn Turner Photography