Smooch, Smooch, Kiss, Kiss

My Little Golden Dictionary, 1949

My Little Golden Dictionary, 1949 (Photo credit: m kasahara)

This morning, on Valentine’s Day, the first person I saw was my dog. I was so happy to see her that I wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day out loud and yes, we kissed. Valentine’s Day gets too much press in this country, it really does. I’m waiting for the haters to say “that’s because you’re single blah blah blah” but, I am not single, in fact today is my 25th engagement anniversary. My husband proposed to me (sigh) in Hawaii, 25 years ago. Yes, we’re still together.

I just don’t like a holiday where you know that some people feel miserable because they are alone. Hell, why not have an Unmarried Day when all those who single can celebrate and all the married people can keep chewing their stringy pot roast with undercooked egg noodles? Why isn’t there THAT kind of holiday? Let’s keep it equal people.

Before I got married I too was single and I remember feeling miserable on Valentine’s Day, thinking I would never find that special someone to share my life with and woe is me, I would be alone. I know several people who are single and they are NOT alone. They have plenty of friends (more than I do) family and they have wonderful, enriched lives. I understand their pain, I truly do. I’ve been there, done that but looking back it was just a night of sitting in my rocking chair with a spoon and a pint of my favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, watching whatever girl movie I wanted to watch. The pain was in the loss of hope, that I would never meet anyone who I could love or who could love me and yes, that was extremely difficult. Even now, do you think we are not aware of  potential loss in the pit of our stomachs, every single day and night?

Valentine’s Day, a very commercial holiday for Hallmark, chocolate makers, flower stores and for some people (me not being one of them) expensive jewelry stores. I know my husband loves me, and he knows I love him too. We say we love each other often, we don’t need a special day to remind us. We also don’t need presents but because today is special for years  we decided to celebrate and go out for a nice (not a rip-off) dinner. I hate the fact that on Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day the same food you would have eaten the day before has increased by at least another ten or twenty dollars. I just want the fudge brownie, I don’t care HOW it’s shaped.

You know when I loved Valentine’s Day the most? When my children were really little, they would come home, clutching in their hands a Valentine made in school, encouraged by teachers for “Mommy.”and “Daddy.” Was it forced, sentimental and incredibly mushy? Yes it was and I LOVED it. I bet it would be hard to find a mom who didn’t. I truly miss that. But, then again, I could make that universal, I do miss when my children were really, really young and that the only things important to them was their dad and me. I admit it, once in a while, I miss that feeling and those feelings will never come back albeit in memories.

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Plinky: If I had to evacuate my home, what 5 items would I grab?

  • Shell Necklace

    Shell Necklace (Photo credit: Seashore Love)

    If you had to evacuate your home in an instant, what five items would you grab on your way out? See all answers

  • The top five items
  • 1) My stuffed animal Nokey (couldn’t say Monkey) that my dad gave me when I was two.
    2) A framed photo of my father and me. (He died 11 years ago)
    3) My computer (has my blog on it so I can “read” my memories.
    4) A huge box of photos of my children, my husband, mom and sis, etc.
    5) My tiny shell (engagement) necklace.

On Valentine's Day

Do You Celebrate Valentine’s Day or Not?

Mini-rose

I remember answering this prompt last year and I wrote about the true love that my husband and I know we had for each other. We didn’t need gifts or mushy cards or expensive dinners (I still agree with the expensive dinners-I hate that restaurants jack up the prices like on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day too) and I was pretty blase about the “holiday.” We would always say “Happy Engagement Anniversary” because we did get engaged (in Hawaii) on Valentine’s Day 25 (wow, really??!!) years ago.

For a few years we did nothing, no cards, no presents, just an agreement not to buy each other anything. When my husband got me the same card, two years in a row, we took a break from cards too; we didn’t need them and it didn’t matter. Or so I thought.

To be truthful, I think we stopped caring a little and that’s not good. It was too comfortable, too much like an old friendship that we stopped noticing each other as the love of our lives and not the parents of our children.

We went through a lot these past few years. Two years of unemployment, our house fell apart (literally) we were forced to move to a hotel room for three and a half months with our high school senior daughter and our nine-year old dog. To add to this my husband broke his Achilles Tendon in the city while running to catch a train to come home the day before we moved to the hotel. It was also the day that we were supposed to drive our son to college. I ended up driving our son to college alone. At first a little nervous, I was proud and thrilled that I did it and did it well! Other people were so sweet to offer, but I WANTED to go and while it wasn’t easy, it was okay. Life isn’t always easy, we know.

Now, we are back in our house and my husband has a job where he has to commute to different places for work so we have no real schedule together. This year, I wanted him to be my special Valentine, all over again, and I wanted to be his Valentine. We stepped it up a notch. We did exchange gifts and cards and kisses and hugs. We remembered what it felt like to have a partner for life and not just a friend or a companion.He is the love of my life.

Sometimes life gets too easy or too hard; you have to work on marriage as you do everything else; sometimes we get complacent. Happy Valentine’s Day to my one and only, true love. I love you honey. More.

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I’d Be Lost Without You

2008-10-22 - 010 - Kona, Hawaii, snorkeling, f...

Image by cfinke via Flickr

Every morning I am greeted with a smile, a hug and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He even sniffs the milk before he pours, knowing I have a super-sensitive nose and will gag if I even think something has gone sour. Today there was a small fruit cup with blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe, sliced with love from a steady, beautiful hand. My hands shake so he carries the full cup of coffee to me, so I don’t feel bad and so there will be no spills on our fake linoleum Spanish tiles in the kitchen. In the middle of the night our feet or hands search for each other for reassurance and comfort. I don’t even mind when he snores loudly, though I do punch him lightly in the arm. Without protest he turns over. I used to say “turn over” but with our marriage code I have shortened the phrase to “apple” as in apple turnover and he knows exactly what I mean.

We have our own language, he and I, built on twenty-five years of togetherness, love and friendship. We are each others’ best friend.  I am not saying we have always had the perfect marriage because no marriage is perfect. We have had our rough years, our tough times but we struggle through it together, knowing that home is not just a place but a feeling. I sat through a Gordon Lightfoot concert for him, he came to see Neil Diamond for me. Sometimes he blurt things out that are supposed to be secret; sometimes I reveal my feelings when I shouldn’t. Sam Adams for him, Diet Coke for me. His Scotch is my Yoo-hoo, his dark chocolate is my milk chocolate.

I want our children to see that our marriage is strong, loving, yet not without flaws. I want them to know that marriage, like any relationship, needs work, a strong commitment and loving companionship. We help each other when difficult situations arise, and in life, they always do. When we were first married, we went through the infertility process together; it breaks many couples apart yet it brought us closer together. We share pain and joy, I am more emotional, he is more practical. We balance each other like a delicate balancing toy, sometimes tipping over, always able to right itself to startling precision.We try to laugh even during hard times. He has taught me to be less pessimistic; I have taught him that it is okay to be vulnerable.

Through the 25 years of our relationship we have grown closer together even after we have grown apart. He likes skiing, I like sunshine, he plays racquetball, I need to write. For a little while we thought it was odd that we did not share activities in common but we adjusted and compromised. We trust each other so that if he wants to go skiing, he goes with a friend. If I need sunshine in the middle of a gray, cold winter, I have flown to Florida for a few days. We can be independent of each other yet always happy to reconnect. We share the joy of traveling together, France, Australia, Amsterdam,  Aruba, Rhode Island. We held hands when we snorkeling on our engagement trip in Hawaii, my most favorite memory. While he would prefer to stomp through old ruins, I would rather walk on the beach finding seashells; we compromise.

He is an atheist, I believe in G-d. We have two amazing children, a boy, 18 and a girl, 16. We share their triumphs and their pain; we help each other deal with our ever-changing reality. If the children attack us, as teenagers often do, we immediately look at each other. The silent language of marriage is a subtle one, but we speak it fluently.

I fear the day that one of us is left alone. I pray it won’t be for a very long time yet thinking about it frightens me. He is the one person that I trust with my life, that I can count on without question. He feels the same way about me. We know the best and the worst of each other and accept and acknowledge both. If I had to, I know deep down, that I could survive without him; I just don’t want to.

My Ultimate Keepsakes

:. via Flickr”]Zip

(Hey, Plinky: Is this a Plinky Prompt Repeat?)

Nokey. (Monkey)
This is the most sentimental item that I have. My father bought me this stuffed animal, a monkey, when I was two years old. I couldn’t pronounce monkey so Nokey it was. Nokey came on every trip with me, sat on my college bed and was there with the birth of my children. He now sits in my bedroom, wearing a Newton-Wellesly newborn shirt, the same shirt my children wore when they were born. He is barely stuffed anymore but still has his wide, open lipped, red smile. My father bought me Nokey at Lamberts; Nokey is now 52 years old. When I die, Nokey will be buried with me.

A ceramic, green 8
Eight was always a special number when I was growing up. It was significant to me as a child, a code between my father and myself. This is less about my dad and more about my daughter. She once made me a green, ceramic 8 when she was in sleep-away camp. I look at it every day and every night. The fact that my daughter made this for me means everything to me.

Photographs
I would scurry around my house ducking in and out of the flames so I could carry as many photographs as possible. A photograph taken on Cape Cod of me and my children when they were young, a photograph of my husband and I when we were first engaged, one of my dog, Callie, looking straight into the camera with a sweet, panting smile. A photo of my mother and I when I was a newborn, my sister and I when we were young and she was my world, my father and I hugging when I was pregnant with my son, pictures of family, friends, reminders of good times in the past.

A Wooden Heart
My mom gave me this heart many, many years ago. It says “I Love You” on it and it is very special. My mother, not an emotional person in any way, gave this to me as a gift. It was her way of showing me how much she loved me, I keep it to remind me that while she doesn’t always show it, I know she loves me deeply.

My Clam Engagement Necklace

My boyfriend (now husband of 22 years) and I went to Hawaii over Valentine’s Day many years ago. He proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, while we were in the kitchen of our rented condo, sipping Diet Coke. While he didn’t have a ring (he thought I would want to pick it out himself) he bought me a delicate gold, clam shell necklace. I call it my engagement necklace and while I have jewelery that is far more expensive, this means the most to me.

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