After the year I put my wife through – numerous hospital stays, mental health issues and then rehab – it was going to take a very special Valentine’s Day card to convey how I truly feel. I think I pretty much nailed it with this brilliant creation from Bettie Confetti on Etsy.
Mrs. M approved, but just so you know I also gave her a nice shmoopy card telling her how much I love her. Awww…
In fact, Mrs. M and I had a lovely Valentine’s Day, beginning with a rather pious meal at Redemption Notting Hill in London. Redemption serves only alcohol-free beverages, and the food is entirely vegan. That might sound boring, but I highly recommend you reserve judgement until you can sample both the food and the drinks yourself.
Drinks-wise I had the Espresso Remolacha, – its take on an espresso martini – made with espresso, beetroot juice and date syrup. It’s a very complex drink, with several layers of flavour that hit your tongue at different times. I know it doesn’t sound like ingredients that would work well together, but they definitely did.
Mrs. M had a Flu Fighter; a zingy blend of ginger, chilli, aloe vera, coconut water, orange, lemon, and lime juice, with apple and elderflower cordial. A lovely, fiery drink that was absolutely delicious.
The mains were equally tasty. Mine was sweetcorn and red pepper pancakes and Mrs. M had the daily Buddha Bowl.
The visit to Redemption bar was Mrs. M’s idea and I must admit the food was far tastier and more satisfying than I anticipated vegan food could ever be. Sure, we got hungry fairly quickly after the fact and scarfed down a lamb steak once we got home, but still – delicious.
As for the drinks; they were absolutely perfect. Not overly sweet, and well-presented. Scores high on the sophistication meter, registers a big fat zero on the guilt meter. Not for a moment did either one of us feel like we were missing out; it was the perfect Valentine’s Day “treat”.
The best gift of all this Valentine’s Day? This:
Mrs. M was rightfully furious with me and my drunken behaviour and took her wedding band off while I was in rehab. Today, she put it back on. It was up to me to decide whether I deserved to wear mine. I know one month of sobriety doesn’t qualify me as “recovered” yet, so does that mean I’ve earned the right to wear my ring? I honestly don’t know. I chose to put it on because putting aside the traditional symbolism of a wedding ring, having it on will also provide me with a daily reminder of what I nearly lost, and what I am still working hard to repair: a lifelong relationship with the woman I love.
I am so thrilled to have it back on my finger, and I don’t ever want to have it off for an extended period of time ever again.
I’m still a work in progress, but part of my progress has been to stop looking at the past and punishing myself for the awful things I’ve done. I’m focused on the future now, and it’s looking brighter by the day…
How was your Valentine’s Day? A struggle? A success? Brag or moan as you wish below.