Valentine's Day Plans?

Over the years, my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day with dinner and usually a movie. Of course the day included small gifts and cards. Our Valentine's Day plans rarely veered from this for most of our marriage. But nothing always stays the same and so we did have two unusual Valentine's during our empty nest years, and of course, things have changed a bit since the grands came to live with us.

The first Valentine's Day hiccup occurred when our eldest son wanted us to meet his fiance's parents for the first time, and they wanted to do it, you guessed it, on Valentine's Day. The funny thing is his fiance texted me to ask if we minded giving up our evening. My response was: "We won't make plans." She misinterpreted this to mean we don't plan to do anything for Valentine's and told this story that night at dinner. I was quite surprised by this, but it wasn't worth trying to correct her.

Watch the stories you read, and you'll find examples of this in the plot. It's easy to create confusion and conflict when someone says and means one thing, but the recipient of that message gets it wrong. For the reader, if they realize the recipient misunderstood the message, it usually makes them keep reading. This didn't create conflict in our situation, but it did surprise me.

The second time we didn't make plans was the second time our granddaughter lived with us. Many people don't realize that she lived with us for the first eighteen months of her life, then for six months when she was in kindergarten, and then when she and her brother came to stay permanently in 2015.

During her kindergarten sojourn with us, my husband, who works for the sheriff's office, scheduled an overnight extradition trip on Valentine's Day. The significance of the date didn't register with him at the time. For the first time since we'd gotten married, we did not spend Valentine's Day together. I did go to dinner with my granddaughter, though. No way was I staying home. 

After the grands came to live with us the third time, celebrating Valentine's Day with dinner and a movie became a challenge. When you live in the country and tend to socialize with other grandparents, you don't know families with teens. The supply just doesn't meet the demand. Plus, we discovered sitters make $10/hour or more! Nothing close to what we'd paid when our kids needed sitters. So, Valentine's Day changed for us.

Some day, I hope we'll return to our dinner-and-a-movie dates. Meanwhile, we find other ways to say, "I love you," and we spread that to two grandchildren who need to know they're safe and loved.

And that's what makes a story great, for the writers and readers out there. When plans and life shift in ways not anticipated, the experience can develop into an intriguing story. When you're reading your next book, notice how this happens and how it draws you into the story.

Looking for a Valentine's Day gift for your sweetheart who loves to read? How about a great story to check out this premise? My epic fantasy trilogy has it all: intrigue, deception, romance, unexpected shifts in plans, and so much more, including giraffes. You can't go wrong with The Watchers of Moniah trilogy


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