“All of my friends put down Valentine’s Day. They say it’s a made up holiday for greeting card companies to make money and so it’s stupid. Deep down we all know they are devaluing to avoid disappointment. But I want a Valentine and I’m not afraid to say it!” – Jenny Girl
Ah, Valentine’s Day: the holiday that makes me face the glaring truth that Troy is not a fictional character from a chick flick who showers me with sparkly frivolities or spends his lunch hour writing poems to express his undying love. Nope, he’s just a guy.
Valentine’s Day is particularly harsh for Troy because he:
- Suffers from a gift giving disability. On my 21st birthday he gave me a maternity shirt in a Target bag then took me out to Chili’s for a virgin daiquiri. (He would like me to point out that I actually was pregnant at the time. Like that makes it OK).
- Isn’t much better with verbal affection. He once said, “I told you I loved you when we got married. If I change my mind I’ll let you know.”
- Is very frugal, so spending hard earned money on a greeting card feels just about as pointless and wasteful to him as wrapping paper (see #1 above).
Yes, V-Day is like Troy Kryptonite: it exposes all of his weaknesses. In the first decade of our marriage he would hand me a card looking all resentful and oppressed and say, “This is pretty close to how I feel about you.” On the years we were really, really in love he would sign it.
My all-time favorite Troy Valentine’s story happened several years back when he came home on The Day looking as proud as a cat that brings his owner a newly killed mouse. From behind his back came the Valentine’s card of my dreams: big and expensive with a gold embossed frilly heart on the front. Inside was a long mushy poem in gold calligraphy that took up both inside pages. I loved it! It was beautiful, it was moving (it was unsigned, but whatever)…and it had weird markings on the envelope. Upon further inspection, this wide, catty-cornered line turned out to be an intricate design made out of…was that dirt? Mud? Wait…that couldn’t be a…tire track, could it? I looked up questioningly. Beaming with pride he bragged, “Can you believe it? I was on my way home from work and saw something red in the gutter so I pulled over and there was this card! How cool is that?” Very, very cool. So cool in fact that I felt a bit of a chill so went to bed in my flannel footie pajamas.
After years of hurtful disappointment I finally came to a peaceful place with Valentine’s Day, because here’s the thing. Troy loves me well just about every day of the year. He may not buy me gifts, but he enjoys taking me shopping for clothes, shoes, even fun jewelry. He cannot seem to tell me he loves me without a “too” on the end, but pursues ways to spend time with me. Most of all, he is supportive in just about every way from giving me a roof over my head to creating my business cards to editing blog posts in which I mercilessly make fun of him. He is a pretty fantastic guy and I feel incredibly blessed to have him.
Troy gets a pass on Valentine’s Day because not only am I his Valentine, but he is mine. Therefore, my expression of love for him is that he doesn’t have to do a thing. I plan the day and he only has to show up. Since I started doing this about 10 years ago Valentine’s Day has been a wonderful time of smiles and snuggles, good food and good…other things. Plus, now that I’ve lightened the load he does a pretty decent job on our anniversary. My birthday is another story.