Monday, February 07, 2005

Uneven in the Valentine Tally

I need to shop for a valentine to give to Ron. I love to give him sweet cards, but I can never catch up. You see....the score will always be uneven in our valentine giving tally.

Our anniversary is February 9th, and we were on the last days of our California coastal honeymoon on Valentine's Day. We awoke in a romantic inn in Solvang, had a delicious Danish breakfast and went for a stroll. And then he did it. He made the gesture that will apparently give him the hearts & flowers & candy edge for our entire marriage.

He gave me a valentine. A big, pink, pretty, expensive, multi-page valentine. I still have it, 15 years later. "To My wife, With All My Love" the front says. "A Valentine to Thank You for Your Beautiful Love." My forgetful husband remembered a valentine, and remembered to bring it on our honeymoon.

Inside it rhapsodizes, "Thank you for the warmth of your caring, the honesty of your sharing, the beauty of your love. Happy Valentine's Day " The perfect card. Women long for such a sentimental card from their men. It's incredibly, wonderfully, breathtakingly romantic and loving......
But here's the thing.....I forgot to buy a valentine for him. Yup, perfect planner me. I forgot. It was a humbling, even embarrassing moment, to say the least. I felt like a selfish heel.

In the hustle and bustle of our 60-person Newport Beach wedding and sit-down 4-course luncheon reception (I'm still trying to rationalize my unforgivable valentine omission...the wedding was a lot of work!), a valentine for Ron slipped my overstressed mind. Like so many women, I got swept up in the wedding details, and forgot thoughtfulness for my new husband.

He was fine. He easily forgave me. He made me happy; that seemed to be his reward. He didn't care much about not receiving a card....for a while. Then he realized.....I'm one up! I have permanent exemption from the big D...disappointment... for neglecting an occasional birthday or anniversary, for missing a small moment. A lifetime free pass. A perennial "get out of jail free" Monopoly card.

Ask him. He'll confirm it.

Over the years, I've canvassed friends and family for their opinion on this so-called valentine exemption. Men unanimously and immediately express admiration for Ron. They're openly dazzled by his immunity status. He's been called a hero to husbands everywhere, an inspiration, a role model for remembering when I forgot. A tall man among men. A man who remembered to buy and take a valentine on his honeymoon.

Well, he's never forgotten my birthday or our anniversary or a Valentine's Day. And neither have I again forgotten a special romantic day.

I admit it.....we wives sometimes fall into feeling smugly superior in our organizing and budgeting, planning and carpooling, cleaning and buying. Then I remember my honeymoon valentine.

As I touch this card right now, I feel grateful for my loving, thoughtful husband. And humbled by my own shortcomings.

It's OK if our valentine tally is forever uneven. I am blessed.

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