Fret For Valentine’s

I hate Valentine’s Day.  Sure, I wore two of the few red items I own – red Crocs and a red sweater — in ostensible celebration of the Hallmark holiday – just because you hate ‘em doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join ‘em – but it was not out of love but social pressure… darn kids.

I hate Valentine’s Day because it is about a love that is different than truth – it is about marketing, and sugar and pressure to perform in front of others.  Send flowers to your beloved’s workplace so s/he can impress their coworkers.  Make a reservation at THE restaurant du jour and overpay for dinner to show the world how much you love your partner.  Everywhere, there is pressure to deplete your bank account and fill the coffers of corporations who advertise that this holiday is about true love.

It is not.

True love is quiet, not flashy – true love whispers intimately, stands steadfastly and just is.  Granted, I’m human and appreciate it when my true love presents me with a sparkling ‘trinket’ of his affection but it is the whispered declaration that truly bonds us because while a diamond will last forever, neither my beloved nor I will.  However, the journey we are on in the time allotted to us on this mortal coil is more meaningful because we are on it together.

There are times when there are no sweet nothings whispered, when there is a DMZ in the bed my husband and I share but even in those dark hours, he is the first person to whom I would turn – even if it meant crossing the DMZ, maybe even admitting I’m wrong – for help were I in trouble. Because true love ebbs and flows but it always runs between my true love and I even when we argue.

We have a good marriage so our arguments run along the same themes year, after year after decade because in my view good marriages have only a couple of contested areas.  It is bad marriages that find new arguments often.  

For example, my husband’s idea of putting on enough sun block on our children often enough does not match my ideal.  Granted, my definition of proper sun protection involves covering our children and ourselves head-to-toe in a material that is UVF 1,000,000 but….  Seriously, we’re a pasty bunch and there is skin cancer, wrinkles, our daughter’s eczema… there is justification for this fret at least.  Nevertheless, my children’s father doesn’t understand the joys and benefits of layering sun block as if zinc was the source of life itself and believes that a quick spray – even though all of them have alcohol, and we dry skin – of a high UVF sun block in the morning is sufficient.  Men.

Maybe if they made sun block in the shape of a heart?  Then my husband and I could slather our children with the blessed cream together?  Nah, I think we’ll keep arguing about what constitutes sufficient sun block but we will continue to agree that it is essential for all members of our family.  

This characterizes a lot of our ongoing arguments; we fundamentally love and respect each other, just not always in equal amounts at the same time — which might be why date nights, yes, okay, maybe even on Valentine’s Day are so important.  Because when you find someone who lets you smother their balding head with opaque zinc, you shouldn’t let him go.

We go to our default settings often – and each accepts the other for them, without boxes of chocolate or flowers.  And that is true love – to be accepted and cared for, baggage and all, by someone who cheers you on to be a better version of yourself and still whispers sweet nothings even when you fall short.

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