In Every Hallmark Way

February 15, 2013

Husband and I have never been much of a Valentine’s Day couple.

Our first year together, I had one of his roommate’s sneak me in and I cooked a 3 course Seafood Extravaganza. I made him a musical photo montage cleverly called 333 Days for each day that we had lovingly spent together up until that point. And that would kinda be it as far as Valentine’s Day goes.

Every year after that we haven’t given Valentine’s Day much thought. He decorated my car once and we’ve shared some cards but sometimes we’d be halfway through a Valentine’s Days before either one of us realized what day it was.

This year isn’t much different. No plans. No presents. Not even a card or balloon.

We do put our relationship first, above being parents – above being individuals – we are a team. I think a marriage needs that kind of commitment to survive. We need to come first and he needs to be my first priority or this doesn’t work. I don’t mean this in a needy, who needs friends, I don’t need “me” time kind of stalkerish way. I mean this in a Healthy Marriage 101 way. No one is more important than this man that I vowed to dedicate my life to… and no one else should be. Because when the kids are grown, when they move out and find jobs or partners to share their lives with, when friends begin to build their own families and move on, when parents move to Boca Raton and begin to get old, the only person you have is the person you chose to link your life to.

I know this, most of the time. I say it, probably not often enough.

So in honor of you, Mr. Saint Valentine, I think sharing how much Meeks means to my life is quite apropos.

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   

I looked at Jersey the other day.


Our poor, little hot mess, Jersey and remembered that in many ways, he was where our little family got started. Husband and I had finally agreed to move in together and we didn’t know where where we would move, how we’d decorate our apartment, or where our relationship would go but we knew we wanted a dog. After some time of looking, we would drive to North Shore Animal League in Long Island on May 17, 2009 and find a dog appropriately named Jersey.

He was a puppy mill rescue. We were uncertain that he’d ever fully be socialized and definite that he was a hot, Hot, HOT mess. But I loved him. Husband… not so sure, but after some coaxing he would give in. We always talk about how Jersey wouldn’t have left there had I not found him, but the truth is, without Husband there would be no Jersey. I had wanted a dog but wouldn’t have taken on that commitment at that time without someone else’s support. I had just finished student teaching and didn’t even have a job! I am a very Leap and the net will appear person but sometimes I need someone at the top of the platform to push me. Husband doesn’t push hard but he does nudge.

We put in all the humanly love that we possibly could with Jersey but after a while we knew there was not much else that we would be able to do for him. We humans had done all that we could for him. But what about another dog? He had already proven at the dog park that he wasn’t afraid of dogs… just their owners.

Husband was all about getting a second dog. We did a bit of searching but weren’t sure if another dog would even be allowed at our apartment so we took our time. Fortuitously, on the same day we rescued Jersey, I found this mama girl on the street.


That night, we took her to the vet, bathed her, fed her, and took her picture to make LOST DOG signs. After a few days it didn’t look like anyone would be claiming her but I had already used up my “pick of the runt” card with Jersey so I didn’t want to say anything about this new rescue dog. As luck would have it, I didn’t have to.

On a drive to somewhere Husband suggested Sooo… if no one claims her, do you wanna keep her? 

When I least expect it, Husband surprises me.

In 2011, in a matter of 10 months, Husband and I got engaged, married, moved to our first abroad experience, and had a baby. And that’s not mentioning leaving my job, the death of my grandfather, a major friendship fallout, and family crises. We had more to handle that year than most people could handle. I’m strong. Husband makes me stronger. 

When we had decided to teach abroad, our main focus was a place that we could afford to live off of one salary so that I would finally have the time, my chance to write. This was before we knew about Rafaella’s entrance. So after we became parents, it would have been easy for him to put all parental responsibilities on me. After all, I was the stay-at-home parent. It only made sense that I would take on the bulk of at-home needs. I knew that.

But there’s a reason I knew I wanted to marry him from the moment we met.

…Well, there’s many, but in this case it was because he simply didn’t expect me to become something different. He knew that caging me into a straight domestic life would drown me. He knew I needed to be a mom but that I also needed to get out. To write. To create. To be who I was. And he reminded me of that. He reminds me of that daily.

In those quiet moments that you have as a new mom struggling to be everything, he whispered supportively that I didn’t have to give up one thing to be another. He told me that I was a good mom even when I left the house to write, especially when I left the house to write. He told me that I was a good mom when I doubted that I was or when others judge our lifestyle. That a good mom is many things and doesn’t fit into one category.

And he does this without fail. When I stress about balancing writing and working and being a mom, he reminds me that I came here to write… not make money. We’ll be fine he says. Because at the end of the day you’re here to write. And we are here to create, grow, and build our family. At the end, none of the other stuff matters.  

Yes readers, he actually says this. And means it. And believes it.

I know he believes it because he reads every one of my posts. I’ll come out of the shower sometimes to find him on the computer reading this very blog when he can be checking his email or his facebook, or watching Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! or reading up on any sports news, or just watching TV and relaxing. He talks to me about my writing, about how he cooked dinner, about how we’re raising our kids, about how we could continue to build our marriage with strong, unbreakable roots.

He believes in me and we and in the whoooole kit n’ caboodle.

So when I say that I would not be where I am if it weren’t for him, I sincerely (and literally) mean it. I wouldn’t be married or a mom or living abroad or writing. I wouldn’t have my two furry babies or my presently growing belly. I couldn’t dream big or dream crazy if I didn’t have him to tell me that I was actually crazy but that he loved that about me.

He has allowed me allows me to be all of the things I have always wanted to be: a wife. A mother. A writer. A traveler. A believer. A wine drinking, breakfast making, pinterest clothing inspired wearing, pizza loving, volleyball playing, tough as nails, girly as curls, nonviolent rabble rousing kind of woman.

He accepts all of it. He may not love it all, all of the time, but he finds the places to love me. In the small moments where I build him the perfect bite or beat him in mini golf or cheerlead as he plays football, or take the rescue of animals into my own hands, he finds the moments to love me and accept me the way only someone who knows you that well can love and accept your every way of being.

So, to the man who has literally made my life what it is and has given me every dream I have dreamt for myself. I love you a bushel and a peck, to the moon and back, and in every other Hallmark way that I could say it.

You, Husband, are my favorite. BHE.


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