Everyday Valentine’s

You may have noticed by now that we post blogs twice a week. You also may have noticed that, for the most part, we have a five-part cycle going—unless a day before posting one of us is blog-less and another of us has one ready in her hopper.

Usually, I really don’t mind blogging, in fact I have my own personal blog that I occasionally (and I use this word a bit generously) update. But after posting my last blog, I looked at my schedule and realized my next post was due today: VALENTINE’S DAY.

I immediately felt all kinds of pressure. I don’t have the natural gift of relationship insight and advice like Shelby and Liza. I don’t have the love of statistics and all-things-APA-style like Tonya and Jaci. So. What do I blog about?

Do you ever have something that just sticks in your head? Like a strangers face, a song or a story? I’ve had a few stories that have been shared to me that have been rumbling around in my head for a while but I didn’t really know what to do with them. I decided this would be a good time to share them. I’ll call them my “Everyday Valentine’s” stories. Because demonstrating love for your spouse isn’t limited to just today. And it works out nice, since they encompass three stages of marriage.

Story number one is about a friend I’ve had for what seems forever. She married right out of college, immediately had a baby and moved far from home. I remembered an anecdote from a recent night she and the Mister were sharing some of their ‘when we were young’ stories. They had rented an old farmhouse because the rent was cheap but quickly learned that the cost of propane to keep the place warm in the cold northern nights was astronomical. So like many young couples, they began to cut where they can. It’s clear, though, that their young romance was not extinguished. He jokes, “It’s amazing how much heat a candle can provide!” Not surprisingly, two siblings shortly followed baby number one.

Story number two is from another friend. She and her husband have a tween and a teen under their roof. Like most kids their ages, both are very involved in activities year-round. The teen is a member of a high-performance team located about 100 miles from home and has practices or competitions 2 – 3 times a week. This older sibling does not yet have a license to drive, so transportation is Mom or Dad’s responsibility. The easy thing to do would be to split the duties: one drives the teen while the other stays home to bus around the tween. But they both drive the teen to practice. Why? “Because we’d never see each other if we divide and conquer.” I’m sure it’s caused hardship a time or two, but their marriage is IMPORTANT to them. The time they spend together clearly is a priority. And I’m sure that has also been impressed upon their children. Way to set a great example!

My final story is about my grandparents. Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia . Grandpa took care of her for as long as he was able. We like to joke that his hesitancy was also driven by the price tag. Grandpa is the most frugal person I know. His care was free! Finally, it was time to relinquish her care to an assisted living facility. Every day he drove from home to the facility to feed her dinner. I’m sure some days were easier than others. I know that the ‘I love you’s and kisses from her were few and far between. The last time I got to see her, I like to think that she didn’t necessarily know who I was, but knew that was a loved one. As a granddaughter, it was heartbreaking. As a spouse, I can’t begin to fathom the daily torture that feeling would bring. Yet Grandpa never complained or offered sob stories. He just visited his wife. Every day. My mother said it best, “He really put substance to his wedding vows. He has been a wonderful example of what love looks like.”

On behalf of MMJ, I hope that you are experiencing memorable everyday love with your valentine—whatever your age or stage may be.