Last night my husband had the foresight to ask Blondie and her Beau if they would do a little babysitting so he could take me out for a Valentine’s date, a day early. I don’t know why, I got those teenager bubbles in my stomach. I had a new red dress hanging in the closet, so Blondie and I made a voyage to buy new shoes, a few accessories, and for the first time all week, I broke out the good mascara. I even bought him a Hallmark!
My husband is good at always buying me a card. They are usually full of sweet sentiments and promises of an even better tomorrow. He picks them carefully to express his feelings but I never find one that really speaks my heart because they never say “we have too many dishes and the laundry’s piled up and you forgot to make the car note and now we’re in a slump” so I don’t usually have a greeting in a matching envelope to express my sentiments. The truth is, marriage isn’t all hunky dory with a cherry on top. When you’ve spent a number of years with someone, you’re bound to have been to the bottom of the barrel with them. You’ve seen each other at the worst possible moments. When you love someone, you get to see when they’re at their best and that’s what we all want, but you also have to take them at their worst- when the ugliest part of their heart shines through. We can’t lie, we all have that ugly little corner in our heart. A place where we didn’t wish someone the best, or when we didn’t give all we could give- maybe it’s the moment when you felt jealous of the neighbor’s new car or that time you wished your friend didn’t win everything or that day you spent gossiping about things that weren’t your business or that week you refused to help around the house- it’s human nature and we all try to hide it, but your spouse, that’s the one person who’s seen the hidden corners. It’s been nearly twenty years in this marriage of mine, so we’ve made mistakes, we’ve hurt each other, and it’s not always sunshine and roses, but maybe that’s the best part. I think my husband has saved me a thousand times, and I think I’ve saved him a thousand times too. We haven’t given up on each other, but I can’t say we’ve never wanted to. We’ve fallen out of love more than once, but we decided to love each other again, and that’s the beauty in it. Life really is a roller coaster ride. You struggle to work your way to the top and sometimes as soon as you reach the peak you go crashing down and then you have to start the climb all over again…
This week I faced the darkest day of my life. I’m not sure how or if I will tell that story. All I know is this, when I wasn’t home with my family, I missed the stupidest little things. I wanted to referee a fight between my boys. I wanted to tell someone to turn down the noise. I wanted to rock my crying grand-baby in my grand-daddy’s rocker until she fell asleep. I wanted to feel the comfort of my own bed even if it is always accompanied by a symphony of snoring. This one night away from my own beautiful chaos made me realize just how much I need the madness that surrounds me.
The hours ticked by so slowly that night, it was honestly traumatic and I still haven’t been able to really sleep again, but when morning came, there he was. My husband didn’t say “what did you do?” or “how did this happen?” or any of the things I expected. He just smiled, and there was a genuine kindness in his eyes that I had forgotten about, and he hugged me and he wiped the tears off my face. Later I found out he tried to move mountains to get me back sooner, but the mountains wouldn’t budge… still, I get to know he tried!
That’s my Valentine, the one who could see me in my darkest hour, and give me a smile. So this year, instead of arguing over what movie we’d watch or where we would eat or who forgot to buy flowers, I decided to put on a red dress, return the smile he gave me, and just enjoy the ride. And, I even gave him a Hallmark!