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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

I woke way too early this morning, hoping I could curl back into Mark's arms and fall back asleep, but my mind raced. I started thinking about what I need to do, what I want to do and what I wish to do today. It's Valentine's Day and my husband Mark took the day off to spend with me. Time is truly the gift I appreciate most in our busy life and today we will give that to each other. We have had twenty three Valentine's Days together, I remember some, but not all of them. We were engaged on Valentine's Day, so I remember our first Valentine's Day well. I remember memorable times we have spent together, like the inn not far from home that we stayed in for a Valentine's Day get away. I remember last year (& probably always will) because Mark surprised me with a trip to see my lifelong girlfriend in Texas. I never saw that one coming, so when I opened the sheet of paper with my plane reservation on it, I fell completely apart. You see, Mark is not great at holidays, I know he will agree and not be hurt by my sharing this truth. I could analyze this to death; his family didn't put any importance on holidays like my family did, he sees holidays as just another day, he's a guy? Who knows why, but Mark has "blown" many holidays in our twenty four years together. He has missed big ones and small ones alike. His planning is poor and often he is running out last minute to get a gift or a card. Sometimes he just "forgets" altogether and I have felt hurt by his "forgetting." That is probably why last years gift blew me away, he planned it out so well. He called my girlfriend, he arranged dates with her, he took days off of work to be home while I was away, he bought the ticket and knew he would be on his own with our challenging family while I was enjoying time with my friend. The amount of planning was impressive and the gift was thoughtful and caring. Mark had truly "gotten me" with that one and he knew it. When Mark went back to college in his early forties, he took a class on interpersonal relationships. He was assigned a paper to write about himself, something that he had needed to improve on and the action he had taken to improve this about himself. He came home from class and shared the assignment with me, saying that the only idea he had was how he often "failed" at holidays. The problem was, it was supposed to be something that you had already improved about yourself and he knew he had not. There were times Mark was thoughtful and planned for holidays, but it was very inconsistent. I think that is partially how "day dates" began, I was much less apt to be disappointed if time was given to me. We could plan a day trip, a breakfast or a lunch out, my expectations were less, because the time I was given was more. We all have things in our marriages, in our relationships we wish to change about the other person, but sometimes it is more important for us to switch our way of thinking. As our relationship has matured (as in aged!) we need less material things and appreciate the friendship even more. Maya Angelo once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." What Mark has done over the years on holidays is mostly vague, memories of gifts are scattered in the confounds of my mind and throughout our home. What is more important is the way he makes me feel, day in and day out I feel loved. Happy Valentine's Day Mark, thank you for the love.

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