valentine’s day 2006, and a little family history

When it comes to picking out Valentine’s Day gifts, I try to find something that really captures how much I love my husband. Someday, I would love to buy him another cherry red BMW 325es – the car that we dated in, and the car that he had to sell on February 14th, 2006, in order to buy a more reliable car. That was a very difficult day. But, I’d like to think that I helped to soften the blow with the gift I gave him that day, but we’ll get to that in a bit. To me, Valentine’s Day is a time to give him something that he has been drooling over for months (maybe even years), but would never buy himself, either because it’s too expensive or just too frivolous.

I should probably offer a little bit of information now about my husband. He spent a number of his formative years on his grandmother’s farm, just 30 miles or so from where we live now. His summers and weekends were spent exploring fields and creeks and throwing rocks at things (usually things that were not, nor ever had been, alive, so don’t worry). Basically, if you picture the “typical ten year old” on a farm, and remove the trusty dog, that was my husband. His dad taught him to shoot when he was young, and also instilled in him the love for old cars with lots of ‘character’ (there was a Jeep restoration project that lasted a number of years). When he got older, one of Andrew’s jobs was to shoot the crows that seemed to infest the Kentucky Coffee Trees on the farm (rather ugly trees – when I first saw one I imagined that it had been transplanted from the grounds of the House of Usher).

Over the years, my husband inherited a number of rifles from his grandfathers and from his dad. He’s got one from the Spanish-American war, one from WWI, and some other rather rare ones. Along with these firearms, he inherited the love of them. When we got married, his best man gave him a handgun – the kind that every husband and father needs in the top drawer of the night stand for home defense. So, you understand that my husband has a passion for firearms.

Contrast this with me. Despite being the daughter of a Major in the U.S. Army Artillery (that’s the canons and guns part, for those of you not in the know), I could count on one hand the number of times I’d handled a gun before Andrew and I got married. My dad had one gun that my mom’s dad had given him, a little .22 that was kept zipped up in its case on the top shelf in my parents’ closet. He was (is) a good shot, and had taken me shooting a few times and taught me all about shooting stance and safety and all that.

When we got married, Andrew made sure to take me out shooting a number of times to get me familiar with the guns that we had in the house, and it became apparent quite quickly that if I was to feel completely comfortable with a handgun, it was going to have to be something smaller than his 9 mm. So we shopped around and I found a little .22 that fit my hand well and I was comfortable with. We couldn’t justify the purchase at the time though, so it was put on hold. Now, you have to understand that even though this .22 was technically for me, my husband was very excited at the prospect of getting a new gun. So, when January rolled around that year, I figured that there could be no better surprise for him on Valentine’s day than that little P22.

Knowing that it can take a few weeks to get approval to purchase a handgun, I went to our local sporting goods store sometime in late January. To my surprise, it only took one form and a quick call to the FBI (!) and I was the proud new owner of a handgun. And let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling to put a gun case in the basket of a stroller. So I hid the handgun somewhere for the next few weeks, trying to figure out how best to surprise him with it. February 14th rolled around, and the plan was set.

Like most 2 month olds, B was going through about 8 diapers a day at that point. Right before Andrew got home from work that day, I emptied out the diaper wipes container, and put the shiny new .22 inside (it was, of course, unloaded and all its safety features were set. Don’t worry – I’m still extremely paranoid about gun safety with a kiddo in the house). When he got home (with a bouquet of tulips, I believe), I played it cool and asked him if he wouldn’t mind changing B while I finished up dinner. So, off they went, the two loves of my life, to B’s nursery to get her changed. I followed quietly and peeked around the corner. Andrew popped open the wipes container and just stood there for a minute with his hands on his hips, and then turned around with a huge smile, laughing at me. And then he got to brag to all his friends about how his wife bought him a handgun for Valentine’s day.

And that is the story of what was hidden in the diaper wipes container on Valentines Day, 2006!


3 Responses to “valentine’s day 2006, and a little family history”

  1. February 14, 2008 at 8:02 am

    What a beautiful and loving story! Thanks for sharing the diaper wipes container story of ’06. 🙂

  2. 2 bethanyjirak
    February 14, 2008 at 11:35 am

    How sweet. Thanks for sharing your story.

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