|Aw, look! Tiny toons version of us!|
So… Valentine’s day is about here.
I know. I’m not much for the holiday, either. I thought of it as Singles Awareness Day all through high school and college, because, seriously? How much does it suck to be in a public high school on Valentine’s Day when you don’t date? It’s so… dumb.
Anyway, then I got married. And neither of us are big holiday people. This Friday marks our tenth Valentine’s day as a couple, and we’ve never made it a huge thing. (One notable exception: the time he surprised me and took me to the B&B we stayed in after our wedding! A million points to him!) One year, I decided we’d celebrate a month late, to take advantage of clearance stuff, because who really cares if you celebrate a month late? (Pi day cares, that’s who! 3-14 should be for pies. Not gross candy hearts.) He forgot. Because who does that?!? He didn’t even have the stores shouting, “IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY!!!” at him in girly colors anymore.
But here’s the thing… Even though I said I didn’t care, and even though I didn’t make a huge deal about it when I got him a card and he didn’t get me one, or he only got me a card, but not flowers, I was still buying in. Oh, I told myself I wasn’t. I looked around at all the ladies who had these huge, unattainable expectations for their husbands and thought, That’s really not fair. Your husband is nice all year long, and he *only* gets you a card and dinner and flowers and you’re mad that he didn’t get you jewelry? Or a pony? Cut the poor guy some slack. One day can’t count more than the other 364. But still, somewhere, I hoped for a card and flowers. And maybe a night out, or even (gasp!) away. And, eight out of the nine times we’ve done this, it didn’t really happen. Or didn’t quite happen like I’d hoped.
I was just a little disappointed. No, really. Like a watermelon seed-sized little disappointment. But when you swallow teeny disappointments, they tend to grow. (Well, when I swallow them, that’s what happens, anyway.) (Did you ever get told when you swallowed a watermelon seed or an orange seed or whatever that it’d grow into a plant in your belly? Scary.) In my head and heart, teeny disappointments go like this: I have some expectation in some random, non-essential area of life. I don’t voice it to him, it just sits there, unquestioned. He doesn’t meet it, because he never knew it was there. I shrug it off and move on with life. But there’s this little stash somewhere of these little things and at some point, he says or does something, and they all dump out on me, and I respond to him from under this pile of little disappointments. They become evidence that he really doesn’t like me like I wish he did. Or he really does think I suck. He doesn’t really care that much after all.
The poor man doesn’t even know what hit him. He just walked into the kitchen and shut a couple cabinet doors, and I’m in tears or angry (or both) because Every. Single. Thing. Because he didn’t remember we’d agreed six years ago in January to celebrate Valentine’s day on March 14. Or he didn’t know you could buy a Mother’s Day card for your wife who doesn’t have any babies yet, except for the kidney-bean sized one in her belly. And he really doesn’t care, and how can he not notice all the hard work I do around here, but still be bothered by open cabinet doors?!?
So I’ve read a few blog posts this week about Valentine’s day. Good ones. About taking your unfulfilled hopes to God and handling the Valentine’s Day hangover on the 15th. But I’m hoping to more or less avoid all the sad, and here’s my thought…
People seem to know that the fun of Christmas presents is more in the giving in receiving, right? I mean, a lot of people get that. Not all of them. But a lot. Where do we get the idea that Valentine’s day is about men spending 50% more than full price on flowers and dinner to make their wives feel loved?
So my plan for Friday is to love my family as well as I can. To show them in extra special ways that I adore them. To bless my husband, and just enjoy that. (There may be muffins and Peachie-O’s involved, which is safe for me to say, because I’m reasonably sure he won’t see this between now and then.) (These are Peachie-O’s, if you’re not familiar.) I do have great expectations for this Valentine’s Day, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be swallowing any little disappointments, because loving my family is always a safe bet. (Also? Peachie-O’s. Always a safe bet. Well, if you’re married to my husband, anyhow.)
I’m hoping that this Valentine’s day, I can give grace to my husband like I’ve received it. And that I can receive love from him (whether it comes in the form of a card, flowers, clean dishes, or a pony) with gratefulness.