When I first met my husband, sometime near the close of the 20th century, and we were negotiating the parameters of our life together, one area of absolute agreement was Valentine’s Day. We were both quite clear ~ we would never celebrate it. We would never partake in this ridiculous “holiday” created purely to bloat the books of card, chocolate and flower companies.
We agreed that picking an arbitrary day once a year to treat each other with passion and compassion, to pay attention to and enjoy one another, was simply not enough. We would never allow our relationship to lean against such a flimsy post for support. It seemed clear that we should treat each other well every day.
And anyway, this mid-winter milestone ostensibly designed to bring people together in a celebration of love actually serves no purpose other than to ensure the unhappiness of the married, the dating, the single, the gay, the straight, the bi, the poly, the questioning. No matter the trajectory of your romantic endeavors, Valentine’s Day is a disappointment. A day set aside to compare the reality of your life to the fiction of everyone else’s. This fine art of mythologizing reaches its zenith once a year on February 14th, and that zenith reaches its zenith on Facebook. For the love of all that is good and holy, if Valentine’s Day is your own personal funhouse mirror of Cupidian failure, take a Facebook sabbatical until the 15th. You know what, to be safe, make it the 16th. You know what, just log back on in March.
But I digress.
The years rolled by and Rick and I ignored the hell out of Valentine’s Day. Turned a blind eye to the holiday in a heart-shaped box.
Then one day I changed my mind.
Out of the blue and without spousal consultation, I declared Valentine’s Day a day of celebration. A thoroughly unilateral decision on my part and one that my husband was not at all onboard with.
Now I wasn’t talking about an outrageously expensive dinner. I wasn’t talking about fancy schmancy gifts or chocolates or flowers. Just a card. A five minute pit stop at the Rite Aid on his way home from work to pick up a poorly drawn picture of a heart on a piece of paper folded in half that, when opened, says “I love you”. Not a big deal. But a script rewrite nonetheless. A rule change.
My husband grumbled.
He grumbled and grumbled and grumbled.
But he did it.
He picked up my card.
And he has been grumbling and picking up my card ever since.
So I want to take a moment to publicly declare my love for my husband of fourteen Valentine’s Days. My husband who believes in me and my dreams regardless of who’s signing my paycheck. My husband who shows his love for me in a million romantic, almost imperceptible ways every single day. My husband who gives me the great joy of letting me love him right back.
I want to take a moment to publicly declare my love for my husband, who loves me, even when I change the rules.
Happy Valentine’s Day, honey.
I love you.