I’ve read many blogs today that talk about the silliness of celebrating love one day a year. A true relationship doesn’t need a commercialized holiday. True love isn’t about mad passion and roses. True love is about being there for each other and being able to rely on each other — every day.
In theory, I agree with all of this. But in practice, Valentine’s Day is rather special to Jim and me. Not because the calendar tells us it should be. Not because Hallmark stocks special cards for that day. Not because a dozen roses is much more expensive on that day than on any other. No, Valentine’s Day is special because of two special memories it holds.
Twelve years ago today, Jim came home with a balloon for me and planned on a special dinner and a relaxing evening. What he got instead was a stressed out wife who needed to make the final changes to her doctoral dissertation and get it to her committee members the next day, as her private dissertation defense was just 10 days away. We had a quick dinner and I headed downstairs to the office in the basement.
In the middle of the night, after working for hours, I woke Jim up in tears and freaking out because my computer suddenly would not save any of my changes. Mind you, this dissertation monstrosity is 165 pages long and I had been writing it for about two months (and had been researching it for about 6 1/2 years). Always my personal tech guru, Jim went downstairs with me and together we tried to figure out what was going on. We spent the entire rest of the night getting the computer to listen, and then printing out this long document. Neither of us will ever forget it, because how do you say “I love you” better than saving your wife’s sanity, even if it literally means no sleep?
A year later, we had a much happier Valentine’s Day. We brought Emerald home for the very first time. Our very best Valentine ever!!
So every year, we mark the occasion, as we would an anniversary. We buy each other a small gift or two (usually candy, or flowers, or stuffed animals) and sometimes a card. And we commemorate these two events that are forever in our hearts and minds. It’s not the only day that we remember what we mean to each other, but it is one of many throughout the year that we stop to acknowledge some of the special (and not so special at the time) experiences we have shared. Neither of us would trade one second of being there together, even the “bad” seconds.
We also give the kids a little something. This year, they wanted to get something for us, too, and for each other. We all kept it small and fun.
So what would a virologist give her family members on Valentine’s Day? Well, germs of course!
Mad Cow Disease for Jim,
the Kissing Disease (a.k.a. Mono) for Emerald (mostly because it’s purple, cute, and has eyelashes),
and the Common Cold for Sapphire (because it’s cute, and because it’s the one germ she could tell her teachers her mom gave her for Valentine’s Day without them wondering what goes on in this house :)).
Just as I hoped, all three of my valentines were thrilled with their new illnesses. I may be a geek, but thankfully, I’m married to one, too, and we’re raising two very proud little geeklings.
Happy Valentine’s to you all, however you celebrate it. Or if you don’t, happy halfway-through February day (or almost halfway for this year, since it is a leap year)!