How was your Valentine's Day? Was it everything you dreamed? Or did you find yourself disappointed because it didn’t live up to your expectations?
I used to have visions of what holidays would be like after I got married. I was ready to be swept off my feet with romantic gestures of monumental scale. It is no surprise then that I was often sadly disappointed and poor Jerry was confused as to why he could never quite measure up to my high expectations.
I was mad that he couldn’t read my mind and know what I wanted (and thought I needed). We women find it easy to put together a special day for our loved ones. It is like second nature for the majority of us. For most men, it’s more confusing than rocket science. It took me years to realize that an approaching holiday filled Jerry with more dread than an impending tornado. Because, you see, he really wanted me to feel loved and special but he was just not wired to plan those epic romantic moments.
This year, I told Jerry that he had a free pass for Valentine’s Day 2014. I expected no cards, gifts or flowers. It was my gift to him and I could see the tension drain out of his body. I had finally grown mature enough to realize that just because I wanted to feel like a princess didn’t mean that Jerry had to provide that for me on every holiday. Besides, I had been dealing with illnesses pretty constantly since December and by Valentine’s Day I was miserably ill. It’s pretty hard to feel like a princess when in reality you feel more like the ugly witch.
So, here’s how my Valentine’s Day went:
MY CARRIAGE: When Jerry found out that our son was driving me to the ER, he insisted that we pull off the road and wait for him to catch up so that he could bring me himself. I was annoyed at the time. Only later did I realize that Jerry wasn’t being difficult, he was saying, “I love you.”
THE PRINCE: As I lay in the hospital feeling miserable and afraid, I felt his hand make its way through the bars in the bed and he quietly held my hand.
MY BALLGOWN: When I was finally given the OK to go home, Jerry helped me dress with such gentleness and care back into the striped shirt and plaid PJ bottoms I was wearing when I checked in.
GLASS SLIPPERS: Beyond caring what I looked like, I wore the oldest, rattiest slippers I owned into the hospital. Jerry slipped them back on my feet so softly and reverently, like they were the most expensive bejeweled shoes.
FUR ROBES: On the ride home, Jerry reached into his backseat and found all his old car coats and laid them gently over me to keep me warm.
THE FEAST: Cups of ice water with straws in them and my medicine bottles magically showed up on my bedside table within easy reach.
TIARA: Once home and laying miserably in bed, I would waken every hour by his hand placed on my head. He’d softly pet my hair and quietly leave again, kissing my forehead before he left.
CINDERELLA: Let’s just say that I made a mess of the bathroom. Jerry was the one who got down on his hands and knees and scrubbed the floor while I laid in bed crying and repeating, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” He walked over to the bed and whispered in my ear, “Never be sorry, I’m happy to take care of you.” (I cried a little again when I wrote that).
In spite of my misery, I took this all in, and I realized something. I’d rather have his hand on my forehead than wear a diamond tiara. I’d rather ride with him under blankets of ratty old car coats than ride in a pumpkin carriage.
Perhaps my Valentine’s Day wasn’t the stuff that anyone would make a movie out of, but it should be. For this is what love and romance look like in the real world. It turns out that while I was lamenting his lack of skills in the romance department, he was yelling “I LOVE YOU” in ways I wasn’t listening to.