I will admit that for as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to sappy, sentimental holidays with all of my heart.
I have planned and organized and donned special outfits for the occasions.
Green for St. Patty’s day, complete with green cookies (not a Pinterest worthy endeavor, I assure you); scavenger hunts for birthdays, detailed lists for New Year’s.
So when it came time for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, you can believe that I was ecstatic.
I spent the day in class, dreaming about the meal I was going to cook for my husband, planning how I would surprise him, so happy with myself and our little marriage and soon-to-be-family.
I cooked some sort of pasta dinner (honestly, I’m not the world’s greatest cook and back then, I was even worse) and brownies and set to work decorating the table. I adorned it with flowers, pink heart-shaped confetti, chocolate, his card and present (a subscription to a woodworking journal), and then I laid the honeymoon pictures I had just gotten developed all around, pleased with my perfect Valentine’s display.
It was pitiful, but I was so excited. I waited for what seemed like hours, as cliche as can be, barefoot and pregnant in our kitchen, for Ben to come home.
I have exactly one picture of Ben that night.
He’s kneeling next to my artfully-displayed table, holding up his present and looking incredibly uncomfortable, because…
He forgot it was Valentine’s Day.
No present. No card. No flowers.
Nothing for his wife of not even two months.
It’s taken me a while to reconcile to the fact that my husband is not me. He doesn’t get excited about little holidays or their excuse to celebrate. He barely glanced at my decorations and managed a lackluster smile over the chocolate I had found in the shape of a hammer.
It’s not how he shows his love.
Ans while part of me has taken a break from my planning, scheming ways (this year for example, it’s dinner at home and I dropped the kids off at the babysitter’s for arts and crafts while I’m working for a few hours!) for all things holiday-related, I know that I will always get excited over the chance to celebrate the little things in life.
In my marriage, on a birthday, or a heart-shaped holiday.
I can get excited about it and show my love and even decorate a table because I feel like it.
But that’s not what makes a marriage.
Like I said, it took me some time from the heart-crushing disappointment and hormone-induced tears I felt that night to learn that. If I want my marriage to succeed, I need to take pleasure in planning little things for my husband because I want to, not because I expect him to swoon over every last painstaking detail I put into it.
He will show his love for me in a million other ways.
I know that now.
It’s kind of the secret to marriage, isn’t it? I’ll do my thing and he’ll do his.
But gosh darnit, if I’m not going to throw out some heart-shaped confetti from time to time.
Just because I can.