|Mr. Man proposing, it really has nothing to do with this post other than it is romantic.|
I've talked about Valentine's of years past. I have pretty fond memories of "Fork Lift Guy" in all his awkward glory and my date with "Hugh Grant" was perfection except for my hasty rude exit.
I always felt like an odd duck in high school, later on, I learned that almost everyone felt the same way I did growing up. I was anxious to grow up and move out on my own. I was the only child at home, my parents were going through a rough patch, and I was struggling to find my place in the world.
At the age of 16, I got a job at a gift basket company. My boss was young and empowered and she treated me like her equal. She taught me a lot about small businesses and she influenced a lot of the career decisions I have made so far. I'm incredibly grateful for her wisdom and for all that she taught me.
The only drawback to my job was Valentine's Day. Lots of people send gift baskets for Valentine's Day, especially women. For some reason, women think men want a teddy bear gift basket or a beers of the world gift basket sent to their office, and maybe they do.... but according to the phone calls we received and the reactions the delivery people received, it doesn't sound like they liked it. Most of the male recipients didn't like the attention. Did I mention we offered a singing telegram add-on or you could have your basket delivered by someone in a cupid costume? My boss and I spent the day fielding phone calls and keeping customers happy. (I skipped school that day to work instead.. where were my parents?)
At the end of the day the extra beers of the world basket would be cut open and everyone would collapse and giggle about the most ridiculous orders. "Please make sure the card says, Dear Schmoopykins, You are loviest, wuviest, teddy bear. Love, Twinklestars" (That one was actually addressed to my high school PE teacher, ordered by his girlfriend.)
One Valentine's Day, as I left work at the gift basket company, I walked outside to find one of the vendors we worked with, waiting for me. We had been on one or two dates before and he was a nice guy, but a few years older than me. He held up a picnic basket and asked if I might like to join him on a picnic. We sat on the beach that night and talked about our crazy day and laughed at the ridiculous requests. I don't really remember if it was particularly romantic, but what I do remember is looking at the ocean and feeling like I was on the right path. I may not have felt like I fit in at school or at home, but I was okay. I had found my way and my little job was helping me sort out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
For today, I'm grateful that I don't work in a business where I have to write out, "Dear Honeykins..." I am grateful that today, I have a lot more inner peace than I did in high school and I'm proud of the path my life has taken. I'm grateful for those little moments I have had over the years that have given me the reassurance that I'm on the right path and doing the right thing.