Friday, February 17, 2017

This Is How Valentine's Day Should Look Like



I was surprised to see my mother-in-law up so early. In the six weeks she's been with us, she has never left her room earlier than 7:30 a.m. I was in the kitchen making breakfast and was totally unprepared to see such a worried look on her face. As soon as she saw me look her way, she said with a pained expression, "I've been up for hours now. I've been having chest pains". I tried to assess how urgent it was and of course she tried to rationalize and downplay everything by assuring me that she's done all the recommended steps to see if it's a heart attack and that she's certain it isn't. Just the same, I told her 'You better go to the ER and get checked'. She was resistant at first but I pointed out that it's best to be seen by a doctor since she'll be flying to Seattle the next day. Knowing her history of mistaking a heartburn for a heart attack, I decided to give her an antacid before waking my husband up to drive her to the hospital. 

This was how our Valentine's Day started just three days ago. It was a worrying morning and certainly not how anyone prefers to start their days, especially Valentine's Day. But you have to see the humor in this and remember that it was, after all, 'heart's day'. At least that's how I've decided to see it. Besides, it still ended up being a blessed day in the grand scheme of things. After four hours or so, an EKG and a few blood tests later, my mother in law was released and sent home with anti-GERD medication. The following day, my husband AJ and I took her to the airport and wished her a safe trip to Seattle to visit another one of her children.

Truly if anything, Valentine's Day is a reminder for me to manage my expectations. Indeed, it would be amazing to wake up to a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a greeting card with the most heartfelt poem ever written, or a piece of jewelry waiting for me on my (dusty) bedside table. But that's not how things turned out. And really it's okay with me, and here's why...

On the drive from the airport, I joked around with AJ telling him that the most unromantic person we know actually beat him on Valentine's Day because I saw on Facebook that said person actually gave his wife a bouquet of roses and a card! As soon as I said that, unexpectedly, AJ reached out his right hand to hold mine and apologetically and tenderly said, 'I'm sorry, Honey'. 

I'm sure he doesn't know this but that moment meant everything to me. It's not that I wanted him to feel bad or that I needed an explanation or an apology for him not living up to what society dictates Valentine's Day should look like. It meant so much because at that moment he made me feel assured that my happiness still truly matters to him. After all is said and done, isn't that what's most important and the real substance we desire behind any romantic gesture? Isn't that the oxygen any committed partnership needs in order to thrive? Doesn't love hinge on thatthe continued effort to bring richness to the beloved's life? 

Both of us will have expectations and we will undoubtedly fail each other, repeatedly. But as long as we both desire to keep trying, and see the other person's happiness and values as essential to our own, then roses or no roses it becomes easier to see the lush rather than a barren landscape. 

Valentine's Day shows up differently to each of us. Some require elaborate declarations of devotion, some make do with simpler tokens. Others still only need a quiet assurance that the hand you've grown accustomed to holding remains yours, dependable, never callous with your heart. To me, that's how I need it to look like. 




2 comments:

  1. True love is dependable, not romantic! Or at least that's what I tell my husband who thinks I'm completely unromantic...

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree, Marie, although I wish it were both, at least sometimes, right? ;-) Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day. xoxo

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