Pour Your Heart Out: A Valentine from the Past

Sorting through a box in the garage, I find pictures from long ago: me as a baby, in elementary school, high school, college, first year of teaching, me as a young mom, my 7 year old as a baby, me pregnant with my second.

So many memories in one place.

And then I see it.

I knew I still had it.

A small envelope, wrinkled and torn, showing signs of age.

Ten years ago, that small envelope accompanied a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day.

They were waiting for me in the school office when I went up to check my mailbox during my break.

I eyed them a bit wearily.

Who were they from?

My mom, maybe.  She was convinced I’d die alone, ever since I walked away from my last relationship. Yes, even at only 24, that was Old Maid territory for her and the pity I heard in her voice whenever I would talk to her on the phone could easily translate into pity roses.

My best friend. We’d had a fight the day before.  Because he said something incredibly stupid about who I was choosing to date these days. I slammed the phone down on him. And refused to pick up when he called back.

My ex. A cryptic email from my ex’s best friend’s wife about if I had heard from him lately had me wondering what was going on.

Some random guy.  A possibility in those days, when my recent New Year’s resolution to not automatically say no had me going on a lot of dates.

The teacher down the hall. Who was becoming a really good friend… and lately, something more.

I walked out of the office and down the hall to my empty classroom, where I set the flowers down on my desk before I opened the card. Away from the nosy office staff and anyone else who would wonder who they were from.

I opened the note and smiled. Just one word was written on the card, but it was enough for me to know exactly who they were from.

Valentines day


“You know that saying, cute as a button?” he had asked me, months before.

After that, “Button” became his nickname for me.

The teacher down the hall.

Who would know that one word would be enough for me to know the roses were from him.

The one who just recently shook his head at me and claimed I couldn’t possibly still have this card.

Not from 10 years ago, on our very first Valentine’s Day together.  No way did I still have it.

10 years have passed. We were married about a year after that first Valentine’s Day. Moved more times that we care to count, had three kids, and gone through ups and downs.

But, I still have it. And it still makes me smile.

He still makes me smile.

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  1. says

    Oh Shell that’s just the sweetest story – brought tears to my eyes. Here in Denmark we don’t really celebrate Valentine but I still have the card I got with 10 roses delivered on my job when we had been together for 10 months.
    Heidi /I’m with Leia recently posted..Snow shineMy Profile

  2. says

    What a romantic story! I love that you knew each other well enough that one word meant everything on that card. Yay! for keeping it all these years :)

  3. says

    I love that you kept the card all these years, the first term of endearment for you. I’ve done the same with cards and letters my husband has sent me – almost 30 years worth. I should put them all into some sort of album…. hmmm. 
    Tara R. recently posted..DerelictMy Profile

  4. says

    Okay, button?! I think your husband just scored some major points with all of us. I know he did me. That is the sweetest nickname! So awesome that you still have that card. I have a box like that too. Now that the girls are a bit older, I share some of it with them. The things that give them to back story to how their daddy and I fell in love.
    Kristen recently posted..The Luxury of a Nightmare…My Profile

  5. says

    This is just the sweetest! I love that you kept – and were able to find – that Valentine. I’m terrible at keeping things (ironic, since I work in a museum), but I do still have a few memories tucked away in my desk.
    Caitlin MidAtlantic recently posted..EnoughMy Profile

  6. says

    Ahhhh. That’s so sweet. Button. I’m glad glad glad they weren’t from your Mom or some random guy. (This from someone who has never met you or your Button face to face!)
    Jessie Powell recently posted..Cruel SummerMy Profile

  7. says

    I so love that you kept that all this time! my hubby has this habit of leaving love notes on my pillow and I have a box where I keep them. it’s amazing how much this touches Him. something so simple as the writing and treasuring of keepsakes, yet forms a bond so strong.
    RoryBore recently posted..WW/Poetry Workshop: The SonnetMy Profile

  8. says

    Oh my gosh, this reminds me of the first Valentine’s Day card I got from my now-husband! It was the year I had moved to work in NYC, before he came out to live with me, and it was the sweetest card ever. Now I’m going to go home and look for that tonight, too. :) Thanks, Shell – I loved this story!
    Jocelyn | ScooterMarie recently posted..5 new favesMy Profile

  9. says

    How sweet is that. I love it and the nickname. He must be from the south , that is so something we would say round here. I keep stuff like that as well. I have this letter Gene wrote me once when he was doped up on pain meds from a surgery on his other hand. He is not all out there with it usually and apparently these meds loosened him up a bit and he just let it all fly.
    Angel recently posted..TTUT I am all over the place..My Profile

  10. says

    Oh, very very sweet!   I love that he just wrote the one word and that you knew who it was from.    And I’m sure I’m a little slow, but I LOVE your new blog design!  It’s a perfect fit for you! 
    Grumpy Grateful Mom recently posted..Family PoliticsMy Profile

  11. says

    How lovely! You know I just started a post about the first flowers my husband ever gave me. I dried them and they stand in a tiny vase and I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have them and remember those days.

    And by the way, you totally are cute as a button!
    Brittany recently posted..Jellyfish Pinata {Tutorial}My Profile

  12. says

    I am not surprised <3

    I missed it again this week…I dont' know why I thought it was on Thursday. I'm going to catch it next week assuming I can manage to type it. Been sitting on my PYHO for awhile. Stinks being raw.
    Happy Puffy Valentine Hearts to you!

  13. says

    Aw, this is so incredibly sweet!  I love that you saved it and I’ll bet that really touched him!  I’ve saved everything that Tim has ever given me, including the very first pair of earrings he gave me on our first V-Day together (the same day he told me for the first time that he loved me).  I made the mistake of letting Bella wear those earrings to school one day and I never saw them again.  I was so heartbroken.  And I’ve learned my lesson to never share sentimental things with my daughter!!!
    Helene recently posted..Want to Know Wednesdays…Celebrating the Small VictoriesMy Profile

  14. says

    Precious precious precious!  Love those stories!  I still have all the notes my husband got me.  I’m hosting my first link party on Friday (February 10) about love stories – dating, engagement, marriage, or lessons learned.  Would love to have you link this up!
    Christine Trevino recently posted..Love Story | Part IIMy Profile

  15. says

    So sweet! Kind of melts your heart:) I save stuff like this too and when we get a minute to look back at the past it puts us right in that very moment!

  16. says

    very cute! I recently found an old poem from ten years ago too that I’m thinking about blogging about today. It’s Thursday here, but it’s still Wednesday there, right?
    Cass recently posted..NewMy Profile

  17. says

    Ahh, love! Especially when you’re falling into it. One of the best feelings. I find myself wanting that feeling again and then wake up to the realization that when I was in that space I prayed, dreamed, wished to be in this space.
    Tayarra recently posted..Me and themMy Profile