Monday, February 14, 2011

How Do I Love Thee? A retrospective...

I hear the argument all the time:  Valentine's Day is a lot like Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween:  it's just another day with a lot of commercial pressure heaped on top of it.  For a lot of people, maybe that's true.  I see those that live with expectations of cards and flowers and candy and big romantic dinners...over-the-top gestures that signal how much they are loved.  Maybe there are others who need a particular day to remember to actually do it...those who need a big, flashy reminder to show the significant person in their life that they care.  Maybe there are others who need that validation...for whom a love isn't complete without something shiny or red and heart-covered that they can cling to.

Love and Cookies Venn Diagram (March, 2010)
And then there are those who view it as another day (in a long, long series of days) to spread a little love in the world.  Maybe it's an expression of self-love...maybe it's turned outward...maybe it's for a stranger...or maybe it's for their "better half."  For these, it doesn't so much matter the "what"...but the "whether."  It matters that they're doing it.  For these, love is a practice...and showing it is part of the day-to-day of their lives, on Valentine's Day and every day.

Reminder List for Beach Trip (April, 2010)
I'd like to think that Reid and I are in that latter category.  Our Valentine's Day has not included roses or candy.  Tonight's dinner will be whatever I fix for the Monkey and me (Reid will probably grab takeout).  Do I fee slighted?  Not in the least.   I am blessed (truly) to be in a relationship that has goofy-sweet-silly-romantic days all the time.  It's not the grand gestures that keep us making jokes about being "schmoopy"'s the small stuff.  It's the phone call at 5 a.m. because we missed a call the night before...a photo of a whole grocery store display of flowers at Easter...a text message (or, ok, a lot of text messages) just to say good morning...a card for no reason...folding the paper napkin ring into a heart over lunch...a handwritten note, photographed and delivered by phone because the mail is too slow... 

Dead sharks are totally romantic...
...when you find them on a moonlit beach stroll (July, 2010)

Reid and I just rounded the corner on our first year together...and it's been 367 days of little gestures and incremental romance and long talks and laughter and shared imagining and thoughtfulness.  My Valentine from him was, as everything else, just perfect:

Mirror Valentine (February, 2011)
These little things remind me how fortunate I am to be able to love this guy on Valentine's Day...and every day.  And I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to remind him that I think he's friggin' awesome.  From the schmoopy (*coughblogpostcough*) to the weird, I'm always on the hunt for something different or clever...none of which he needs, of course (he knows exactly how I feel), but I like to hope I at least amuse him...

One of my e-Valentines to Reid (February, 2011)
But that's me...  As for you, I hope you're out there Valentining in whatever way best suits you today...  Whether it's candlelit dinners with roses and chocolate-dipped strawberreis...or piled on the couch with your family...or just taking a moment to be really good to yourself, especially if no one else is.  There's rarely a thing as "too much" love in the world...and I hope you're taking some time today (like every other day) to spread some around.

My Valentine celebration will be a dinner with my Monkeyboy (my smaller, and exceptionally cuddly Valentine delight) and maybe some Netflix Instant Queue...which is pretty much just like every other night at my house.  Then, later, I'll be looking forward to a phone call tonight with a guy who's 2,342 miles away...which is just like pretty much every other night.    And, in honor of the occasion, I'll be especially grateful to have had this first year with him...actually that, too, is just like every other night. 

And so it began...  (February, 2010)
For the grateful ones, I think every day is Valentine's Day.

No comments: