A woman carries a bouquet of red flowers while thinking about a romantic dinner

Another Milestone and My Heart Swells

I'm not sure if I mentioned in my last blog that I was able to take my 15 year old daughter to get her learner's permit. She passed on the first try and I was so very excited. I even let her drive home. She's been driving ever since. However, I have learned my lesson about her emotions and driving. They don't mesh well at all.

Another milestone...my daughter's first boyfriend

We were leaving a small town in South Georgia about an hour and a half from my house. Her boyfriend is 3.5 hours away and this is her first love. So, that's two milestones! They both get emotional when having to leave each other. I remember being that age and boys were the center of my universe. It's crazy at that age how you think you're in love, and the next day you're not.

How can I make this Valentine's dinner special?

Anyway, Friday I picked him up halfway to come stay at my house. We have a spare bedroom so it works. I'm in between the rooms and cans on the door help. They didn't try anything but this was going to be her very first Valentine's Dinner date. This was the third milestone I was determined to make absolutely perfect.

We live in a resort destination so to get a reservation anywhere is virtually impossible, especially a quiet table for two 15 year olds. Therefore, I decided to plan my Valentine's Dinner and her's at the same time. I messaged my boyfriend (Josh), my daughter, and her boyfriend to see what they wanted from Olive Garden. I know it's cliche but I had a reason.

Planning and preparing two dinner surprises

Fortunately or unfortunately, Pier One Imports is going out of business in our area. It was fortunate for me. I was able to by my daughter the diffuser for her room she's been begging for as a gift along with her favorite scent. She doesn't stink, she plays volleyball and the clothes can get a little odor. I'm on a tight budget so it was super hard to focus. I got plastic dishware for $2.00 each there as well as matching cups. I bought 4 of them. Two for us and two for them.

Second, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond. I wanted a tablecloth with an umbrella hole. And it needed to match my cushions. I have so many things from that store from the days I used to have money. It's good I'm somewhat of a hoarder.

It had rained all day but I made sure to keep two seats under the umbrella, and I have cushions for them. I also have a fire pit on the table lit by a propane tank that's kept covered for safety reasons. I finally had one more stop to make before picking up my daughter, driving three hours, and getting their food. That stop was to Walmart. I wanted to gauge my eyes out but I knew if anyone had roses left, it was probably them.

I walked into the store directly to the flower section. The disappointment began to seep in when I saw various tulips and orchids. I picked up a white orchid, it matched. As I turned to leave, something red caught my eye. In the very center of the picked-over flowers were a dozen beautiful roses. They were pristine, to say the least.

My daughter was so surprised and thankful

That night I impressed everyone. It was a lot of work and took me the entire day, but the smiles were perfect. My daughter's boyfriend got her a huge teddy bear (that I told him to spray his cologne on before he gave it to her). I got her smelly stuff. And outside, the rain stopped. I secretly set up while her boyfriend got settled. This was a surprise for all of them. They all thought we would be eating Olive Garden in front of the television.

When the kids stepped outside, they had a beautiful table clothe that matched the cushions. The fire in the fire pit was going and I had white Christmas lights strung up around the patio. Their food was plated and cups full. They had placemats and linen napkins. I took two of the roses and put them in a small coca cola bottle (old school style) and sat them next to the fire pit. The fire pit is small, it sits on the table but creates such a romantic atmosphere. My daughter looked at me close to tears and hugged me so hard and kept saying, "thank you so much, mama". They had their nice romantic and quiet dinner on our patio.

A romantic evening for my partner and me

Next, I had to get ready for Josh. So, while the kids ate and talked (I loved hearing their laughter), I set up the remaining roses and the orchid on our dining table (which is nice because I used to have money). I put down two placemats, plated our food, and lit the best smelling candle. I have a dimmer in the dining room so I dimmed the lights so the candle glowed.

He was originally mad at me because he thought we weren't going to do anything. But, this was my daughter's first Valentine's Dinner. I had to make it special. So, I made our's special too. He brought some Merlot and was in total shock that I pulled all of that off without anyone knowing.

Living in the moment with those I love

And I lived. I didn't think about cancer for one second. I was too busy trying to make others happy, which in turn made me happy. So, when you're feeling down, come up with some creative ways to do for others. It's the best feeling in the world.

And I am beyond blessed and grateful to see my daughter (actually set up) her first Valentine's Dinner. Never in a million years did I think I would get this far when she was only seven and I was told I had 12-18 months to live.

Choose life. Don't overdo it, but find something that makes you happy.

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