Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Gross and Nauseating Love

I love Valentine's Day., I could take it or leave it. I have never cared for Easter and I think St. Patrick's Day is absolutely stupid. I typically boycott all 4th of July festivities and don't get me started on Thanksgiving. I do Thanksgiving because someone has to cook, but I don't like any of the food until we get to the pie round. 
But Valentine's Day.....oh, be still my beating heart.

As a kid, I'd obsessively choose which paper Valentines went to each kid in the class, making sure that none of the boys got too strong of a message from both the card and the two, tiny conversation hearts that went in each envelope. Before sealing them, I'd fold and unfold them, imagining the response of each recipient, making sure that the Valentine I gave them wasn't going to cause any undue drama and would leave each classmate knowing that I cared about them- even the kids who were mean to me. I was giving them a hope that one day, when they stopped sucking, we could enjoy a friendship that included them being recipients from the first tier of the Smurf Valentines, the ones that expressed such sentiment, such warmth, that it solidified all of my most precious relationships. I was never going to be that kid who just wrote "from Chrissy" and let the tiny envelopes of importance be determined by fate.I cringed when I got home and saw kids who did that and wondered how their hearts could be so cold, so damaged. 
 Even as a kid- Valentine's Day was serious stuff. 

I did it every year, little OCD me and my cereal box 'mailbox" decorated with tinfoil and paper hearts. 
It's a wonder I didn't go out of my mind.

I met Matt 8 years ago, just before Valentine's Day.
 It helps that I am always going back to that season where he swept me off my feet and we knew that we were going to be each other's big dumb forever.  

We'd both been kicked in the gut pretty hard by our former spouses and had learned some pretty rough life lessons about trust. We had broken places and yet, in the cracks of those broken places, there was hope. We took some of those 'never again' vows and made space for what was going to fill them. Before we ever met, we had each decided that we deserved to be loved unconditionally- or we did not want to be loved at all. We deserved spouses who were faithful to their marriage vows- or there would be no vows. We deserved to be with a person who thought we were funny, smart and good-looking, even if we were actually stupid, geeky and our jokes are terrible.  We deserved to be happy and to have an eternal marriage that would last. We deserved to be in love and it was okay if we never found that, we simply were never going to settle for marriages where we were not loved and where we were treated in the piss poor way our former spouses had treated us. 

It took Matt and I two whole days to know we had found that in each other, once we met.

Truth be told, when that first date....I wasn't thinking he was my future husband. I was thinking about Valentine's Day.
 It was coming up and I really wanted to be sure I had a date for that night. I didn't really care WHO, I just needed that space on the calendar filled.  The guy I had been dating was not awesome and my alternate guy I often dated was very sweet to me, but dumb as a bag of hammers. His name was also "Chris" and he always, always wanted to make out. He had come over for New year's and he we had three people named Chris there, I was Sister Chris, Sunnie's ex was Brother Chris and my date....well, he was Slut Chris. I could have a fun time with Slut Chris, but I didn't want to have to spend the evening with a Tazer at arm's reach.

That evening of our first date,  when Matt and I knew we liked each other immediately, my little OCD brain started working.
 After dinner, we went back to my house for Diet Coke and kissing-- I mean scripture reading (oh shut up.. I was 35.) I found a way to bring up Valentine's Day and oh- so- subtly said to Matt "So, will you be my Valentine this year?" He said yes and then I said "No--really-- do you want to spend Valentine's Day together? Don't say yes if you're not 100% sure. I'm serious." 
He smiled and said "Of course." 

And we had a great Valentine's Day. 
We were so in love and everything was so new.
I included the girls in what had been a tradition with my kids- each Valentine's Eve, I leave them a special Valentine from Mom. I remember too many years feeling sad and alone and I wanted my kids to know that even if the person they hoped would give them some sign of cupid at least trying to make it happen- that someone adored them- even if it was just dumb old Mom.
Some years, those Valentines are mailed, but every year, I hit the Dollar Tree hard and do it. 

This year, Romy had a party.
So cute. 
I may have spread my Valentine's Day Love Disease.

Matt and I are celebrating on Monday, but we exchanged out gifts yesterday. He is always super romantic and I am so thankful for that. We're going to a Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera and having dinner in the city together. Be still be little black heart.
 I know he likes his gadgets and I gave him his and hers Fitbits.

We've both gained enough weight over the past year that we can't stand ourselves and all of the fad diets we attempted went under pretty quickly. This will help us to do the thing we have not yet tried-- to move more and eat less. 
So crazy it just might work.

I am lucky and blessed to have a life where every day is pretty close to Valentine's Day for me.
 I have great kids who know they are unconditionally loved and a husband who is constantly sweet to me and makes me feel so good about myself, who gets me and who I know loves me.
 I look at him, 8 years later and my heart still skips a beat and I can't believe he loves me.
 I love him so much and if you took away all of the flowers and the paper cards and the Dollar Tree trinkets, that love  would be more than enough for this girl who was born in Kansas City and grew up on a dairy farm to stay happily and madly in love with the boy from an Army Base in El Paso who spent his childhood looking out on the apple orchards in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. 
I love you, Matt. 

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