Our Valentine’s Day baby | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |


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By Sally Torbey

Our Valentine’s Day baby

Uploaded: Feb 13, 2017

Twenty-four years ago our baby girl was born on Valentine’s Day. It was a warm, sunny Sunday, and the tulip magnolia blossoms were in full bloom as my husband walked and I waddled around the neighborhood, stopping periodically to breath through contractions.

While it was slightly awkward when a neighbor stopped to chat, not realizing we were laboring, we were walking around the block because our toddler was being entertained by his Auntie at home and our presence was distracting. And, when I was in labor I loved being outdoors. I experienced a transient heightening of my senses. The colors were brighter, the fragrances sweeter, and the warm breezes and sunshine mesmerizing.

Other than almost delivering in the hallway in front of pregnant couples on a hospital tour, it was an ideal birth, resulting in a beautiful baby girl and the best Valentine’s present we could imagine. My husband, however, never got accustomed to the fact that having a baby on Valentine’s Day meant that we shared the most romantic holiday of the year with our daughter’s birthday. Every year he would excitedly inquire about our romantic plans for the day, and every year I would remind him we were celebrating our daughter’s birthday with a Baskin-Robbins oreo ice cream cake. This went on for 18 years, and then she went away to college.

As Valentine’s Day approached that year, it broke my heart to see the magnolia tree blooming outside her bedroom window and she wasn’t here. I consoled myself anticipating that we could finally celebrate the day as a couple, but my husband, after almost two decades of forgetting our daughter’s birthday and remembering Valentine’s Day, somehow forgot all about Valentine’s Day after she left home. He scheduled a business dinner meeting for Feb. 14th, and then was surprised how upset I was about it.

My husband made the mistake of securing a table at one of the more popular restaurants in town for his business dinner. His table-for-four meeting was awkwardly surrounded by tables-of-two celebrating love with champagne, including a few of our friends, who gave him an even harder time than I had for forgetting our first unencumbered Valentine’s Day!