The meaning of Valentine’s Day can vary from person to person and it can evolve over time when a family expands, but the true purpose of Valentines Day is spending it with the ones we love.
Military families often face times where their special someone is away on important holidays and birthdays; however, it’s known among the military community it comes with the job.
Jeff and Megan Smith have lived in Fallon for two years, and their relationship has endured the test of time the Navy has put them through; deployments, work-up and work trips.
The Smith’s have been together for 16 years but married for 14. They met in Jacksonville, Fla., while Jeff, an operations specialist chief, was stationed there and Megan, who is from that area, was working for a retail store.
“It was an interesting situation how Jeff and I met,” Megan Smith said. “To keep the story short we were both seeing other people at the time, but those relationships soon ended and Jeff and I started dating and have been together ever since.”
Megan Smith was no stranger to the military lifestyle; her father, a retired Army major, flew Blackhawk Helicopters. She said she moved every two years until she was 10.
“Although I was used to the military lifestyle, I still had to adjust to Jeff’s schedule and the life we were going to live,” Megan Smith said.
With Jeff Smith serving in the Navy, Megan Smith mentioned he has been gone for several important holidays and birthdays. She said Jeff Smith has been on two deployments lasting from six to nine months and countless work trips.
It’s easy to go through those things on your own when it’s just the two of you, Megan Smith said; however, it gets harder once you put children into the mix.
Jeff and Megan Smith have two daughters: Becca, 9, and Lauryn, 3.
We don’t play into the commercial side of Valentine’s Day and spend a lot of money on each other, Megan Smith said. She said they prefer to avoid the crowds at restaurants and cook a nice dinner at their home.
“We’ve never been a big fan of going out on Valentine’s Day … you can say we’ve modified the holiday to fit what we like,” Megan Smith said. “But now with our daughters our intimate dinner has become more of a fun family dinner.”
She said the family tradition now is to make pizza for dinner and bake red cupcakes to celebrate the holiday.
“I love our tradition of making pizza and cupcakes,” Becca Smith said. “I love pizza and having it heart-shaped makes it even more fun. I love the cupcakes, too, but this year, I found a cookie recipe out of the American Girl magazine I want us to make instead.”
“We learn that with children we tend to take the special part of the holidays and make it special for them,” she said.
For the past few years Jeff Smith has been away for work on Valentine’s Day, so this creative mother found ways to make it special for her daughters.
“The girls love making cards and arts and crafts so we incorporate a lot of that,” she said. “We not only make cards for each other and their father but we send out cards to the rest of the family too … it’s fun for the girls and it’s a personal gesture for our family that they really enjoy.”
Megan Smith said on Valentine’s Day she always makes sure her girls have something special to wake up to.
“I will give the girls a card and candy or a balloon or flowers … something small that I know will put a smile on their face,” she added
Megan Smith said since the special day falls on a Saturday, the family plans to cook a Valentine’s Day heart-shaped pancake breakfast, followed by exploring in the desert and their traditional family pizza dinner.
“The most important thing for us is just spending quality time together as a family,” she said.