I love you and that’s the beginning and end of everything.― F. Scott Fitzgerald
My husband presented me with a quarter this week. For my Universe Box, a tiny vessel that houses all the coins and paper money the Universe lays in my path. Years ago I started collecting pennies, nickels and dimes I found on the ground. Quarters are a big score. I recycle the money by putting it in the Salvation Army Red Kettles at Christmastime. My darling shares the fun of the game too.
Many moons ago this glass treasure chest was a Valentine’s surprise from my sweetheart filled with tiny, deep pink dried rosebuds. Each time I add the find du jour, I catch a whiff of roses that warms my heart.
See, it’s the little and big things that make up our happy marriage. Equal parts fun and joy with a smattering of heartache you cannot bypass in life. I count my blessings because I am cherished by a remarkable man who truly means it when he says my happiness is what matters most to him. Who indulges me in all way my quirky ways, loves me with all my imperfections and overlooks the things that could legitimately drive him crazy…
…such as my habit of leaving half eaten bananas in their browning skins on the kitchen counter and piling my stuff in inconvenient spots around the house. Being pokey on the weekends so we don’t typically get out to enjoy the day until it’s half over. My penchant for buying self-help books I never finish and cross stitch patterns that I’ll never stitch. Ignoring puppy Miles’ nose art on our living room picture window for weeks. Chortling softly as I cuss in language fit for a sailor when I stub my toe. Drinking Starbucks when he prefers Dunkin Donuts’ brew.
Peanut butter and coffee are touchstones to his love for me unto themselves. My beloved brings me the brand-new jar to take the first scoop because I like the look of the pristine surface as I dig my spoon in to make a fancy T. He always dumps the Keurig coffee reusable holder and fills it for my first cup on Saturday mornings.
Mark is always there for the big things in our life—like leaving Fenway’s bone next to the end table in the living room for weeks, because Fen had gone unexpectedly to the Rainbow Bridge and I remember his gnawing it that same morning. Holding me with his incredibly strong arms as my heart broke when my parents passed, my jobs evaporated, the boys’ left for college. When I shuttered my needlework business that was my heart’s desire but a financial drain on our lives. The 40th birthday card he selected on behalf of my Mom in heaven to go with the beautiful handmade quilt she left as her legacy for my important milestone.
Valentine’s Day has always been a homemade affair in our house. When our twin sons were three, Mark created the best surprise ever. Adam and Alex came dashing onto the bed in the morning, sporting giant foil angel wings, quivers filled with paper hearts, only white underpants and red paper heart headbands. They showered me with their paper hearts, kissing me with baby giggles and wrapping me in love with squishy hugs. Cupid had nothing on ALL my boys then, or now.
I have vintage suitcases and decorative boxes stuffed with notes and cards stretching back 35 years. Some are love stories that my darling wrote with the artistry of the poet he is. Some are scraps of everyday life, “I fed Margot & took Rosie and Girl out to peepee. P.S I love you with all my heart darling!” Grocery lists that he added silly purchases to (boobies) alongside cereal and milk.
When we are gone, and our sons go through my treasure troves, they will discover exactly how much their Dad and Mom loved each other and them. How we cherished the moments in our lives writ large through the love stories of our days as a mostly happy family.
Happy Valentine’s Day my love. My one and only. My other. You own my heart.