Valentine’s

Happy day after Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as President’s Day. I worked at the hospital yesterday. I try to work every other Sunday (people don’t like working Sundays and that day can be short-staffed more than usual and Sunday’s can be quieter than the weekdays because people are kind of just waiting for Monday – try to not get sick on Sunday) and I mentioned to Jeremy as I was putting together this particular work schedule block that my usual Sunday would fall on Valentine’s Day and if that was OK (because I generally have full control of my nursing schedule) and he laughed and said I guess it is fair enough. Early in our marriage, Jeremy missed a number of Valentine’s Days. I think some were due to business travel, but one memorable one was when he wasn’t traveling and some head guy flew in from somewhere else and arranged a business dinner to happen on Valentine’s Day with three other guys – all of whom were husbands – and then complained that it was hard to make a dinner reservation at fancy restaurants. Yipes. I’m a poor holiday celebrator and usually scoff at holiday shenanigans, but this pandemic has made me crazy and I made valentines for my co-workers.

I bought bags of candy and grocery store chocolates and made goodie bags (I also included my favorite fancy-ish pens which I bought in bulk because no one loves a good pen more than nurses who still use pens every single day and they are surprisingly hard to find when the one you are using goes missing). I just willy-nilly started filling bags knowing that I needed to make about twenty even ones and I failed miserably and just left the detritus on the kitchen island in frustration with intentions to come back later.

But when I came back later, Jeremy had sorted all the candy in piles and determined how many of each one I could include in each goodie bag. That is true love. (He said I was driving him crazy with my method).

So this is our 25th valentine’s together and I bought this Valentine’s Day card for Jeremy. Normally, I don’t buy cards, but I wanted to buy a card for Vince and then I was standing in the Valentine’s Day card aisle feeling silly buying a card for my son and not my husband. So I picked out this one:

And I was only after I had given it to Jeremy, and he had read it and then I re-read it that I realized that it was supposed to be a card for a husband to give a wife. I swear, I swear it was tucked into the section listed as “For Husband”. Of course the better half is usually understood to be the wife and the lucky half is the husband. But I totally feel like the better half is Jeremy and the lucky half is me. OK, if you asked our friends or acquaintances, who is nicer? Jeremy or Doris? Jeremy insists that almost everyone would say that I’m nicer. And I acknowledge this: I come across as friendlier, more approachable, I probably smile way more. Jeremy can come across as more serious, aloof and probably (who am I kidding? absolutely) more pretentious. But I will tell you, Jeremy is the nicer, more generous, optimistic and kinder one. With me, it is only with Jeremy’s example that I’ve learned all my skills with kindness, generosity, openness. He’s allowed me to grow into my own true self. With him, it is all there – the goodness is inherent in his person. With me, I am a more insecure person and therefore, I had to learn to overcome my feelings of insecurity which include pessimism, shame, envy, jealousy, selfishness and competitiveness. I’m the lucky half because without Jeremy I could not have become the person I am today and I’m happy with myself. He encourages me in all my endeavors. When I was learning to be a nurse full time and my schedule was unpredictable and he was traveling for his work at least once or twice a month, he cancelled all but his most necessary travel for almost a full year to accommodate this endeavor to be there for both me and for the kids. Did I have to nurse full time? No, but I wanted to and Jeremy was there to help me out. Jeremy feeds me everyday, he makes sure I’m OK everyday, heck, he wakes up with me before every nursing shift (5:30 am) to make me a lunch – even on the every other Sunday. A shout out to both sets of parents who, between them, have over a century of married life and who set fine examples of affectionate and collaborative marriages.

And we both went to the grocery store (separately) and picked out the exact same gift for each other from the seasonal candy aisle. Aisle is a hard word to spell.

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