Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Flowers, romance, candy, jewelry. It's all so romantic.

I overheard a co-worker yesterday talking about how she hated the holiday. Nevermind the fact that this particular co-worker seems to hate every holiday - Christmas, Halloween, whatever may make people smile. She's a professed disliker of people. OK, "disliker" isn't a word but I'm being kind here.

Now said co-worker also, coincidentally, has a new boyfriend and she's giddy. I don't think she realizes it. I think she thinks she's being coy, cute, a little flippant about it as if any of this was an attractive quality in a person when one acts this way ALL the time. Another co-worker and I have decided she can in fact be put in a box (as in given definition) but we've given her airholes and for every silly, annoying, pointless comment, we plug a hole. She hasn't many left.

Anyhow, I don't begrudge anyone their giddiness. Every romance should be filled with it. My friends at the place where I met my husband told me - years later - that I had stars in my eyes for about the first two years of the 7 years we were together before we married. I don't recall it lasting that long but I can take their word for it.

It was fun. The anticipation, the guessing games, the fights and wondering if we'd get back together again. (We did that particular one 3 times with 5 months between each time and he came a calling every time.) There was that first 2-week vacation we took together where we traveled up and down the East Coast, visiting my family, my friends and his family in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. He was a jerk that whole first week because of sex. I wasn't offering any. That's right. I was still a virgin by choice, thank you very much, and giddiness did not equal a lobotomy. He almost got fired.

We visited my grandmother in Georgia. By then my grandfather had passed away. In the quietness of the country Georgia home, as my grandmother did nothing but be herself, Mr. T. settled down. We had another week of vacation left and I wasn't sure I was going to make it because I was just about to hate him. But here he was able to appreciate my home the way I did and I don't know if he realized it but I'll bet the calming ways of my grandmother overtook him too. She told me when we were alone that she liked him. That spoke volumes for him. Friends had already said the same, not knowing the octopus I was dealing with alone. But I knew what they were seeing because I saw it myself. But my grandmother knew me better than anyone else in the world. And she was honest, though not brutally. You asked, she'd be straight. I miss her.

Mr. T. and I continued on to Florida to visit my college professor aunt where he got another good report and had started to show me the softer side of him. We drove down the coast all fired up, after only a few months of dating. We came back up relaxed and familiar and I distinctly remember looking over at him as we drove in his gold Acura and thinking I can marry this man. No time soon, of course. Too much to figure out. But somewhere in there was a diamond worth cultivating.

Thirteen years later, after 5 years of marriage and 2 kids, the giddiness isn't there daily anymore. But then there are times like this past week when I was very sick. I guess I got whatever Daughter had 2 weeks prior. Mr. T., despite his back, did my job as the day-job parent. He got the kids dressed, cooked for them, got their lunches for school, washed their clothes, grocery shopped, fixed the stupid vacuum so it could REALLY work and cleaned the house, made my soup and tea (though I did have to ask him to. ;-D) and then he did the stuff he usually does as the night-job parent. Pick the kids up, get them dinner, take Son to karate and the barbershop, take Daughter to the doctor and somewhere in there finally got the carpet selected for our house so we can get this done and move in. He did it all making the silly noises he always makes to announce his arrival, laughing at nothing as he walked the house doing chores, fussing at the kids to clean up, laughing some more with his sisters who come over. I really did marry a big kid. He lays on the bed making faces at me because I am sick and I didn't brush my teeth that day. This is the stuff that still makes me giddy. The reality of life. The consistency of someone who sees you at your worse and smiles through the yucky face he makes as you tell him about your recent nose-blowing escapade. The reliance of someone who gets up and gets going and doesn't stop first to ask, "Are you going to take care of the kids today?" The security of a relationship where no one is trying to change anyone, even though we can get on each other's nerves just being ourselves. The nonstop surprise of a man of few words who shows me all the time that he hears every word I say as little things pop up that I may have mentioned so long ago that I forgot about it. The trust of knowing he listens.

Those beginning stages of romance are defining moments oftentimes. You find it hard to breathe or think straight or talk like you are educated. But give me the familiar. The foundation is poured, the house is built and pretty much it's all about making it a home. There is peace in that house and no one is thinking, "Will they call? What will I wear? I can't eat that in front of them!"

I hope said co-worker gets inundated with flowers and candy and cards on this day she hates so much. I know. There is something mean about that, huh? I just want to see it! But something tells me she masking something anyway. I, for one, am quite happy to have found a true diamond, despite his flaws. Those just make him distinguishable from the rest. I don't need Valentine's Day but it's still nice to have a day where the world is reminded to stop a moment and just appreciate that other person. No, we don't have to spend money. We do what we can when we can because we choose to and we want to make each other smile. And oh yeah, it's fun! Nothing wrong with that, silly co-worker.

I hope you all have an awesome Valentine's Day.


Joy said...

I just wanted to say that I am glad you found a very special man in your life and that he has been there for you. Its always a great thing to hear/read and I just wanted to say that even though I have only been married 8months its the best choice I have ever made.

Girls that don't like valentines day or any holiday are just being selfish.. mostly they say that because they are single and if they are not single they do that to get attention.. sad. But regardless I am glad that you don't have that particular outtake on the holiday. Me and my husband celebrated it a day early so we wouldn't have to be in the rush of all the other celebrating holiday goers. So much fun.

Have a great Valentines day!

Colleen said...

Awww. You know, the "warm fuzzies" you get when you first fall in love are wonderful, but that never lasts and it's not what real love is about anyway.

Your husband helping you out when you were sick... THAT my dear, is real love! Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Looney Mom said...

We find out quickly that love does not equal mushy feelings, but commitment. Some days though, I like the mushy feelings. When life gets "real" that's when we find out what love truly is. My husband has been so wonderful taking care of me while my back is still a mess. I wouldn't trade that for anything.