We have a tradition on Valentine’s Day, at Casa Minify. There are no long stemmed roses, or cellophaned chocolates. Instead, we share a meal together.
This was Valentine’s day 2010. We had brunch together. I wore my favorite apron, and we made heart shaped pancakes. The apron is one my husband bought for me at a flea market we went to years ago, before we even started dating. Although I’ve given away many of my things over the past year and a half, I still have the apron, because I still use it and because it reminds me of a really wonderful day.
Today went by in a rush. I took too long getting ready, and made my husband late for class. While he was in class, I grabbed a quick lunch with some wonderful classmates, who are quickly becoming good friends and great confidantes. Then I had class, more homework, more class, and I was off to the church where I’m doing my ethnography class this semester. One couple had brought a cake to share, since we were all spending Valentine’s Day together. I so enjoyed worshipping and fellowshipping with them. But the best thing I did today was take a little time out to enjoy the tradition my husband and I have maintained for as long as we’ve been married: we sat down to eat together.
And just this once, we went out instead of cooking at home. We had dessert and coffee, midway through the day, at our favorite cupcake shop downtown, right next to campus. We sat and talked, and then we took a walk across the quad. He walked me most of the way from his side of campus (the pretty part, with the old buildings and the huge beautiful trees) to my side, with the hospital and the school of medicine and a big construction zone. It was nice to have company for the walk, nice to be outside in the sunshine together, and nice to be spending a part of the day with the person I have loved my entire adult life.
I am so lucky to have met him, to get to spend my life and my coffee breaks with him. This holiday is what we make of it, and although it can be an icon of commercialism, loaded with blood diamonds and pesticide-coated flowers…it can also be a chance to remember how lucky we all are to be loved…and not just by our significant others. Valentine’s Day always makes me grateful for my parents, who have been together more than 30 years, and taught me what it means to be in love, to take care of and support one another. I have watched them care for my grandmother together with a patience and grace that just amazes me. I have seen them listen to each other, cook dinner together, laugh at each other’s jokes, and I have always thought “that is the kind of marriage I want to have.” Now I know that every marriage is different, but I am thankful for everything they taught me, which I carried into my own adult life. And Valentine’s Day makes me think of my sister, who is the first person I can remember beginning to love. I remember how small she was, and how beautiful, and how badly I wanted to hold her the day she was born. Above all, this day makes me think of my husband’s grandmother. She was a wonderful, kind woman who was welcoming and gracious to me, with a great sense of humor. He was her only grandchild, and she adored him, and she was his Valentine every year – he called and sent her a card every single year. It was part of why I fell in love with him, and with his family, which I am very lucky to now be a part of.
Above all else, the thing I am grateful for in this life is love.