Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine Balloon

This Valentine's Day my wife and I will celebrate seventeen wonderful years together . . . we also celebrate the releasing of our seventeenth balloon.

Let me explain, we’d been dating only a few weeks when Valentine's Day was approaching. I bought flowers, candy, and a beautiful card for her . . . she bought a rose and a huge helium-filled balloon for me.

We decided to meet at a local grocery store parking lot before going out to eat. In the parking lot, she handed me the rose and balloon, except I thought the balloon’s string was tied to the rose, and she thought that I had a hold of the string and rose. We both watched helplessly as the balloon rose slowly out of sight. It was at that moment I asked her to "go steady" with me . . . fortunately she said yes.

Every Valentine's Day since, we have made our way to a grocery store parking lot and released a balloon into the sky. With this tradition we have turned a blunder into a celebrated moment.

Since then, we have released balloons from various states, and have been so busy at times we were forced to make a special effort to even continue the tradition. In 1999, balloon number seven was released in the middle of a hectic week of packing as we were moving from one city to another. Balloon number six was the very first to be released outside our native state of West Virginia, and on February 13, 1996, my wife's father passed away after only one week in the hospital . . . the next day we tearfully released balloon number four.

So, what have I learned in seventeen years? Well, I’ve learned that true love is not about flowers, candy, gifts, or even balloons. I’ve learned it’s not about possessions, wealth, youth, or power. I’ve learned that tough times are par for the course, but the course always gets smoother if you just keep playing. I also discovered it’s not always about me.

But more importantly, I’ve learned that true love comes with no strings attached.

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  1. You big softie, you!

    I have only 6 yrs of marriage under my belt, but I would be willing to bet that something such as that has tenfold the lasting power of any expensive gift. It's always the small things that stand out the most as days go by.

    Here's to hoping that balloon #17 goes well, and to many, many more balloons in the future.

  2. What a great tradition. I wish you both all of the happiness in the world

  3. Wonderful... This red balloon is looking great... Best idea for Valentines Day...

  4. Fantastic. It really is about making the most of any moment.

  5. That is a very sweet, touching story. :) Here's to many more balloons released by you and wifey, Michael.

    My best,