Year after year, Valentine’s Day comes and goes, and after 26 years, it still makes me cringe a little bit. I guess I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this holiday. The part of it that I love? The celebration of love – my love, as well as the love of those around me. The part that I hate? Everything else.
Hear me out.
My relationship with Skyler makes me smile so much that it hurts sometimes. He’s hilarious and he’s serious; he’s strong and he’s understanding; he’s reliable, yet he’s spontaneous. He’s my perfect counterpart in life, and we challenge each other every day. Of course I want to celebrate our relationship. I want to shout it from the rooftops, and I want to do whatever I can to make sure he knows how grateful I am for him.
But I want to do those things in ways that are meaningful to us, not just in ways that are Instagram-able and will garner the most likes on February 14th. Instead, I want to make him feel loved every day of the year, just as I want him to put in that same effort. I feel the most appreciated when he does small things, like picks up a bottle of lime-flavored Perrier at the grocery store because he noticed I was almost out. Or when he wakes up before me for work and makes sure that the ice has been scraped off of my car. Or when he sits down on the sofa and watches The Bachelor with me each week with no complaints about wishing he were watching ESPN instead. Or when we happen to wake up way before we have anything to do, and decide to go have breakfast at the local diner, rather than rolling over and trying to fall back to sleep. Those are the things that are meaningful to me. Not a heart-shaped box of chocolates or overpriced flowers, red and pink in honor of this commercialized “holiday” of love.
So today, February 15th (just an ordinary day), I want to take the time to brag on Skyler, and share a few of my favorite things about him. Valentine’s Day is one day a year, but he’s the kind of person that deserves 365 of them.
- His sense of humor. Day in and day out, Skyler makes me laugh. Whether it’s a random meme that he’s sent me, a witty one-liner or his impression of my pet voice, he brings me to laugh-tears almost daily. For example, we have a house plant in our bedroom that was gifted to us by my grandma on the day we moved into our house. I’ve somehow managed to keep it alive for 5 months, but barely. I always forget to water it, and regularly trim off the dead leaves that seem to have appeared overnight. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, he showed up at my office with a vase of fake flowers, with a card that said “Try not to kill these.” It was an inside joke with a Valentine’s Day twist, and something he knew would make me smile in the middle of the day.
- His kindness for others. Skyler is someone that I would call a ride-or-die. For the people that he loves, he’d go to the end of the earth. In the past two months alone, I’ve watched him drive hours to help a friend move, offer up our home to members of my family who just needed a little time away and help his boss with an hours-long project on a Saturday morning. He’s selfless for those closest to him, and it’s something I admire so much in him.
- His thoughtful gifts. You may remember that Receiving Gifts is one of my top love languages, and that can be really difficult for someone to be on the other side of. But time after time, he continues to blow me away. For years, my grandfather had gotten me a subscription to Smithsonian magazine as part of my Christmas gift. I couldn’t tell you how that tradition started, but it had been a constant in my life for a very long time. However, this past Christmas, I knew that my subscription would not be renewed, and it was a heartbreaking disappointment that I had shared with Skyler many months before. Fast forward to Christmas night. I was sitting on the sofa, exhausted after a long day of traveling all over the area to spend small portions of the holiday with everyone in my family. We had just finished opening our gifts to each other when he said there was one more. He walked back the hall and brought me a white box wrapped in twine. Inside was a flannel, which my grandfather always wears, a card to “Goober,” my nickname from him since I was a kid, and a Smithsonian magazine. Not only did he make sure that this Christmas tradition remained unbroken, but he also made sure that it came packaged as a gift from my grandfather, not from him. I’ve never cried so many tears, and I truly doubt I will ever receive a more thoughtful gift in my whole entire life.
- He’s pretty handy. I know this is pretty surface-level, but it’s comforting to know that when something goes wrong, Skyler can probably fix it. Not to mention, I know that my dreams for our home aren’t outside of his wheelhouse. If I want a new light fixture, he can hang it up. If I want to build shelves for storage, he can tackle that, too. If we need to finish our basement entirely, he’s my guy! It’s a small thing, but it really is nice knowing that he can come to the rescue in almost any situation.
- His intelligence. One of my favorite things about Skyler is his opinions. And that doesn’t mean I always agree with his opinions, because quite often, I don’t. But people in our generation are so often uninformed and easily swayed, and he is one to do his research – and lots of it. He’s also someone who will listen to my opinions, and even when he disagrees with me, can acknowledge that I have my own point of view. If you were on Facebook for any amount of time during this election, you know that not everyone is like that.
- His aptitude for teaching. My best example of this is from last September when I began my first season as a coach for the local Soccer Shots franchise. If you know me, you know that a) I don’t have a single athletic bone in my body, and b) of those non-athletic bones, really none of them have ever touched a soccer ball. Before my very first session, I was nervous. Like, stomach-churning nervous. So, he took me outside with two soccer balls, and taught me the things I needed to know to make it through that first week. And then the second week. And even the third week. And, lo and behold, I think I convinced those kids I knew what I was doing.
- His unending support. Within a three month time period, I started a new job and moved, we went on our first international vacation, we bought a new house and we moved again. That’s a lot of high-intensity life-changing things happening in a short span of time. And through it all, he didn’t waver. When I would be freaking out, anxious before an interview, he was there to talk me through it, calm me down and reassure me. When I was nervous about something falling through with our house, again, he was there. When we packed and unpacked and packed and unpacked again, I felt overwhelmed, but he remained steadfast. In fact, I think that he feels energized by the tetris-like puzzle of fitting oversized items into the bed of his truck.
- His family ties. Not to be too forward/creepy, but when I watch Skyler play with his niece and nephew, my ovaries get all (heart-eye emoji). I love watching him interact with his family, because I know that he’ll be a great family man himself some day, too.
- His quirky habits. One of the best and funniest things about getting to know Skyler has been learning about his quirky habits. For example, every single night he turns on the light under the microwave, so the pets can see at night. He also prefers the flip-top toothpaste to the twisty top toothpaste. He will never choose mayonnaise as a condiment. For breakfast, he’ll order a sausage and cheese omelet, and he eats it in one particular way every time – cut into thirds, then the middle third piled on toast to make a small breakfast sandwich – and he always gets cheese on his home fries.
- Everything else. It’s impossible to encompass my favorite things about him into a comprehensive list, so this is my catch-all. (PS: This is where I would write that I really love his hands because they’re big and strong and make me feel safe, but he always tells me that it’s weird that I like his hands, so I won’t put that on the list. Hehe.)
Love you more than anything – and happy random Wednesday in February. Thank you for being you.