Monday, February 14, 2011

Day Nine: Double Duty

I claim there ain't
Another Saint
As great as Valentine.
--Ogden Nash

As some of you know, I don't personally celebrate Valentine's Day.  It's not that it offends me or anything silly like that, and I have nothing against other people celebrating it (though I do think some people go grossly overboard and place entirely too much importance on the day).  It's just a personal thing for me.  If someone loves me, he shouldn't have to buy me something to prove it.  Now, I'm not saying that you can't express your feelings for someone through a gift, especially one that's thoughtful.   John has bought me things before that made me feel truly special.   I simply find it more meaningful when  such gifts are presented "just because," not "just because it's expected."  I suppose one could argue that Christmas is no different since we buy gifts because it's Christmas.  It's not the same to me, though, since I see Christmas gifts as more a tradition and not as some sort of proof of our love.  Heck, I've bought Christmas gifts for people I didn't even like that much.   

Another issue is the type of gifts that are so predominant around February 14th.  Balloons.  Flowers. Stuffed animals. Candy.  When it comes down to it, they are all fairly worthless gifts (though I hesitate to badmouth all candy).  Balloons deflate, flowers wilt, stuffed animals...well, they sit there and collect dust mites whose droppings make our allergies flare.  All of these gifts can be bought at practically any store this time of year, including gas stations, and the markup on them is obnoxious.  When I worked at Walgreens, I was appalled at how much people would spend on Valentine's Day merchandise, especially at the last minute (but that's another issue).   I realize that some people are more creative with their gift buying, but the vast majority are buying the stereotypical products, otherwise they wouldn't be mass produced and sold in every big box retailer and "mom-n-pop" place from coast to coast.

The intention behind buying a Valentine's gift also bothers me.  As I mentioned earlier, it doesn't mean much to me if you buy me something to say "I love you" only because it's the 14th.  But some people go past buying out of obligation.  What about the ones who are afraid not  to buy something?  When I hear a guy standing in the line at Kroger saying, "I'm glad I remembered to get her these roses or she'd still be bitching next February," I have to wonder if it's just an attempt to be funny or if he's really buying just to avoid the repercussions of a giftless Valentine's Day.  Now before you accuse me of being hard on the guys, let me make clear that I think the woman is at fault here.  Perhaps these ladies are okay with "fear giving," but I personally don't want a pretty package containing a dose of "shut the hell up."  It's one thing for someone to give because he feels he's supposed to, but it's quite another when he's practically forced into giving. 

Finally, I'm totally against the entire concept of "buying love" or of money being a gauge of how much a person is loved.  I remember in high school when they would deliver Valentine's gifts to the classrooms at the end of the day.  It was a tense time for everyone.  Who would get a gift? Who wouldn't?  Would she like it?  Whose is the biggest?  I can remember girls complaining about their gifts ("Why did he only send me a half dozen roses?") and others boasting ("I told y'all he was crazy about me.")  And while that could all be chalked up to teenage immaturity, I've come across grown women who aren't much different. 

"I don't care how much he spent on this.  I'm totally worth it.

"I can't believe he waited until I got home to give me my roses. He   could have sent them to work so everyone could see them."

"He wrote me a letter.  A letter.  Letters don't sparkle."
I suppose it all comes down to this for me:  it doesn't feel sincere.  A holiday supposedly rooted in love shouldn't be so stressful and superficial and expensive.  And there are people I know who celebrate Valentine's without all of the hoopla. I supposed I could do the same, but I just can't get into it.  I love getting gifts and being told how much I am loved, but I want it to be for the right reasons.

By now, those of you who are big fans of Valentine's are probably miffed at me (if you're even still reading).  Please know, that I'm not judging you.  I don't think you're wasteful or shallow.  I'm sure many of you have your heart in the right place and see Valentine's as a day to truly celebrate the love you have for your sweetheart.  If February 14th just does it for you and you enjoy the day and all of its trappings, more power to you!  I'm not saying I think the entire holiday is a waste.  I just personally can't get into it and have a hard time understanding why everyone else gets excited.

With all of that being said, I have decided to pay a little tribute to my husband today--my "valentine" if  you will.  See, Day Nine of the "30 Day Challenge" is to post a picture of someone who has gotten me through the most.  My parents and friends have been a great support and encouragement to me over the years, but I've been blessed to spend the last ten years with the love of my life.  So the remainder of this blog is for my husband, John, who has seen me through the highs and (very) lows of life for a decade.  If you want to see this as my Valentine to him, I can live with that.  ;)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll remember that I wrote about John back in the Fall. That post focused mostly on his support during my labor and the time period shortly following.  I want to add a little more about my feelings for him here, though, as well as share some pictures of him/us.

As I've mentioned before, John and I met, dated and married within a period of nine months.  I know for certain that we had our share of doubters and I have to wonder if there have been times he's wondered if he made a huge mistake the day he agreed to marry me.  I'm not even going to sit here and pretend that I'm the easiest person with which to live.  If you've known me for five minutes, you know I'm a wee bit on the dramatic side.  Over the years, we've had our share of trials and heartache, but we've made it through it because we took our vows seriously and made a conscious decision to always stay together and work through our problems. 

Since this post is getting rather lengthy (and I can go on and on and on about why I love my husband), I've decided to do a sort of top ten list.  These won't be in any particular order and won't necessarily even be my top ten.  They're what I'm feeling now, though.

10.  I love that my husband is smart.  And he's not just smart in his field.  I kind of thought he was a  "science nerd" when I met him, but it turns out he is also quite well read.  Not only does he know all about pharmacy, he can also hold his own when it comes to classic literature and mythology.  On top of book smarts, he also has common sense.  This is all terribly important to me.  It's not that I consider myself to be some sort of brainiac, but I'm not a dummy and I don't want to be with a dummy.    I want to be challenged, and I want someone who brings something to the table intellectually.  John knows so much about things that I know so little about, so it works very well. 

9.  I love that my husband likes most of the same shows and movies that I do.   I know this may seem unimportant and some may wonder why I'd include it on here, but I know people who don't share any of the same shows or like totally different movies.  They go to separate rooms to watch their shows, and that's kind of sad to me.  I guess John and I probably watch too much television, but we aren't much for going out.  Our TV time is our time together each night.  We watch our shows and laugh or analyze the characters or make predictions about future plot twists.  It's fun and we enjoy it.  I would hate to be holed up in the bedroom alone while he sat in the living room watching something else.  Watching TV with him is just more fun than watching it alone.  We also like most of the same movies, especially when it comes to comedy (which I'll discuss more below).  This is great because when we pick a movie to go see, we both enjoy it.  It's none of this, "Well, I guess you can pick this time."  Who wants to spend eight bucks to be bored?

8.  I love that my husband is handsome.  I know that looks are subjective, so if you don't agree with me that's okay (just keep your stinking mouth shut about it--heh heh).  I know that love can't be based on looks, but it sure doesn't hurt if you're attracted to your sweetheart.  I don't love John because I'm attracted to him, but I do love being attracted to him.  I love his red hair (that is now turning brown).  I love his brown eyes.  I love his smile.  I love his long back and even his short legs. I love the freckles on his arms.  I love his monkey toes.  My husband is so sexy to me.

7.  I love that my husband has a heart for animals, especially dogs.  He loves our two furry girls as much as if not more than I do.  He can't stand to see an animal suffer or even one that is homeless.  Going to the shelter is difficult for him because he has to leave the dogs there when he goes.  When I see a dog walking down the side of the Interstate and get upset, John doesn't laugh at me or think I'm silly.  He totally understands that I worry about the dog getting back to his home safely.   John also likes animals in general, and we both love going to zoos and aquariums.  Some guys would think that is "kid stuff," but we have so much fun together when we go.

6.  I love how kind my husband is to me.  He's never yelled at me or cussed me.  He doesn't drag up all the things I've done in the past and use them against me.  He's considerate of my feelings and doesn't think my little neuroses and hangups are totally nuts.  He puts up with my constant talking and even acts interested most of the time.  ;)  He doesn't complain when I want him to call me so I don't worry.  He doesn't belittle me or talk down to me.  He doesn't pick fights or make accusations or try to play games.He's considerate and supportive and affectionate.  He always asks me how my day went and actually listens when I tell him.  He invites me to have lunch with him almost every day.  He wants me to be a part of things he enjoys.    He always kisses me goodbye and tells me he loves me before he leaves.  He always says he loves me before we hang up.  He always kisses me goodnight. 

5.  I love that my husband makes me laugh and shares my sense of humor.  Many people don't get to see the silly side of John, but he definitely has one.  I never know when it's going to show up or just how silly and goofy it's going to be.  My favorite times with John are the times when we're laughing.  We have a very similar sense of humor, too.  We like smart funny and absurd funny and even mean funny.  There are times we laugh at something and wonder if anyone else would find it funny (or think we were totally wrong for laughing).  I love that when I laugh at something, John doesn't look at me like I'm off my rocker.  After ten years, we have our share of inside jokes and can hold conversations using primarily movie quotes.  It's almost like some sort of twin speak.  I love when we hear or see something and both crack up while everyone else wonders what's so funny.  Laughter is one of our strongest bonds.

4.  I love that John has not only stayed with me but forgiven me for the stupid or hurtful stuff I've said and done.  I don't really want to elaborate any more than that since those aren't happy memories.  John has the most forgiving nature, though, and I am so grateful.  I love how big his heart is.

3.  I love how much John loves his mother.   Girls are raised being told to pay attention to how a man treats his mother because that is how he will treat you.  I was immediately impressed with how well he treated his mom and how much he respected her. 

2.  I love that John cares about my family and friends.  There are very few things I personally consider "dealbreakers," but I can't imagine being in a relationship where my husband tried to come between me and those I love.  I don't ever have to worry about that with John.  He gets to know my friends and spends time with my family.  He cares about the people I care about and that is so important to me. 

1.  I love how much John adores our daughter.  From the moment he saw her, he has been in love with her.  I love the way he plays with her and how he talks to her.  I love the way he looks at her when he doesn't know anyone is watching.  As wonderful as he is as a husband, I honestly think he may end up being an even more wonderful father.  All the things I love about him will make him an incredible daddy.  She and I are both so very blessed.

Even though I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, I do celebrate love.  Today and every day.  I love you,  John, and I look forward to another ten years.  And ten after that.  And another ten...


pink sparkle stars said...

my boyfriend and I have been dating 4 years and 4 months.
we have never really done anything big for valentines day.

last night (sunday) we spent the night cleaning up a leak in the basement from all the melting snow, then eating pizza and watching the movie amadeus which is about mozart.

today (monday) we took a friend to woodstock to sell a softball bat, stopped at a place called Tommys for dinner, and came home.
that was our valentines day.

like you we dont need the gifts on this day to show we care and love each other.

Im really enjoying your blog :)

MOMER said...