Suburban Snapshots

A Letter to My Husband on the
Approach of Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hi Honey,

Listen, I'm with you on this being a fabricated holiday. I get it. But I'm still sitting here shoving pencils through paper hearts for Anna to bring to school because apparently candy is now as big a faux pas as store-bought cards. These make her happy and her little friends will enjoy sword fighting with the pencils until they lose circle time privileges.

I knew you weren't a romantic when I met you and babe, I'm a cynic too. Hallmark can spare me the soulmates line and the meant-to-be business. I was twenty-five and crazy about you, and you were like, "Cool," and our match was made. I knew you'd grow to love me.

I do have a point, and I'm very slowly getting there.

You always take care of me, so even though I can count on one finger the times you've surprised me with wine and cheese after a bad day at whatever crappy job I had in 2002, the fact that you work so hard to improve our lives — the way you do the laundry without being asked, that you never complain when I leave you with Anna for hours, or how you lift all the heavy stuff so I don't have to — trumps your deficit of sentimentality. I joked about the garbage disposal you installed for my birthday but I really do appreciate it and I'm sorry for being such a brat about that new car.

The generator you got me for Christmas was great too and I'm thisclose to learning how to turn it on without blowing up the electrical panel you spent so long meticulously wiring. You do all of this because you're a good man, practical to your very marrow. I've learned that hard work is the currency of your affection.

So when I ask if you want to "do something" for Valentine's Day, you should know me well enough to understand that I am not hoping for some contrived overture that includes waxy drug store chocolate and a hot tub date scene out of "The Bachelor". What I'm saying is that I'd like you to sometimes ignore all your sensible tendencies and get a little corny just because it'll make me happy. It's like Anna's been singing non-stop for two months now: Let it go.

Once a year I want a back rub that isn't a segue. I'd like you to spoon me to sleep with both your hands above the equator. I want you to be the one to call in the reservation then agree to be my designated driver and not balk at the two thirteen-dollar drinks it'll take to get me into the passenger seat. I want your hand on my knee while you drive even though your callouses snag my tights. There must be a view around here we could go enjoy, and when I suggest it I'd like you to not joke about how I won't be able to see anything anyway with my head in your crotch.

Actually that's pretty funny, you can keep that in play.

Honey, let's just be dumb for each other this Valentine's Day and if it'll make you feel better, I'll let you tile the shower on Saturday.


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