Tuesday, February 14, 2012
To Be Loved
He knew I was teasing.
I would never expect chocolate before coffee.
This past week I’ve listened as women I know rub their hands with glee and whisper about anticipated Valentine’s surprises. At the grocery store earlier, I watched as rather panic-stricken men perused buckets and arrangements of flowers, balloons and chocolates. I smiled at the look on their faces as they paid, the conflicted look that says simultaneously, “Fuck me for trying,” and “Man, I hope she knows I love her more than this stuff can possibly say. I hope she smiles.” I’ve nodded in sympathy at single friends who decry Valentine’s Day as a bunch of corporate greedy bullshit.
Sure, it’s as commercial as any other holiday and it has as much to do with St. Valentine as Christmas has to do with St. Nicholas. But I’m not going to waste my time feeding peanuts to those all too evident elephants.
Sure, we should spend every day of the year making certain that the people we love know they’re loved. We should be doing nice things for them all the time. We shouldn’t wait for special occasions. But I’m not going to waste my time putting oil in a car with no wheels.
I’m not even going to point out that the more you saddle another person with expectations, the more disappointed you’ll likely be.
I’d like to talk about my morning. After I’d had the required caffeine and checked my email and all that jazz, I wandered into the kitchen looking for sustenance. Before I could so much as sigh at the same boring box of cereal, Steve asked, “Would you like to go to breakfast?” Of course I said yes.
On the way, he stopped and paid the utility company enough to cover three months. We went to our usual dive for breakfast - nothing fancy, just good grub. On the way back, we stopped and got groceries. He’s a self-proclaimed squirrel when it comes to shopping. If we need one, he’ll buy three… or eight. He buys yogurt for me even though he never eats it. He bought a new hair brush although his hair is so short it doesn’t even require a comb.
That was my Valentine’s Day. It was perfect. It was perfect because it was like any other day. I am loved beyond measure by this man and it shows in the way that he is there for me. Every day.
I know people who have that and take it for granted. I know people who think, “Yeah, it’s nice, but it’s not special.” I know people who have it but don’t trust it. I know people who want it but who are not willing to give it. I know people who give it but who are brow-beaten for it not being enough.
I was a florist for eight years, and I’ve been a card monger for nearly as long. You won’t hear me poo-poohing the commercialism of something that’s put milk on my cereal. And I don’t think it’s wrong to have a day set aside to haul out our sparkly best “I love you!” However, I do think it’s a stinkin’ shame that some folks think we need one.
Each day we have everything we need to give to another person. Each day we have the ability to appreciate what they give to us. As Eden Ahbez penned back in 1947, in that lovely tune Nature Boy, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."