It’s not that I’m not an affectionate or loving or appreciative person. It’s just that I’m not really one to express that affection/love/appreciation in public, in a crying-it-from-the-rooftops way.
The following things tend to make me groan: “I ♥ my soldier/sailor/Marine” bumper stickers; photos of husbands captioned with, “Isn’t he a hottie?” or similar; facebook statuses proclaiming the Glory of the Significant Other; facebook wall posts between spouses or significant others that have way too many hearts in them (or nothing but hearts in them).
I let Dawn get away with some of this stuff, because from the time we were kids, Dawn has always peppered her writing – even, somehow, her speech – with little hearts and X’s and O’s. Also because she and her husband have the best, most ridiculous pet names for each other, and there’s nothing quite like “lover muffin” or “sexy clown” to turn an otherwise gag-inducing mushy post into something worth smiling about.
One night last week, though, I decided to publicize the type of sentiment that I usually even forget to tell the man who inspired it. It was late at night, the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and this was my post:
I don’t usually post this kind of mushy crap, but I LOVE that Doug can cook: tonight I suggested we try making corned beef in the crock pot while we’re at work tomorrow, thinking I was asking for something difficult and complicated, but he made the planning seem so easy, it’s as though I asked him to order a pizza. I’m so lucky ♥
No fewer than eight people (including Dawn, of course) clicked the “like” button. I even got a few comments agreeing that Doug rocks, and a suggestion to add Guinness to the crock pot. (And just to prove my initial point, he’d already thought of this, and bought the Guinness to do it.)
And then this crazy thing happened: I started to believe myself. Doug and I were at work the next day, and I kept thinking, “He’s mine. I’m so lucky.” I don’t usually have those thoughts – at least not consciously – unless Doug has gelled his hair, and trimmed his goatee, and put on a collared shirt and his best behavior. (Or unless he’s demonstrating how great he is with little kids; that one gets me every time.)
Could it be possible that these overly sentimental wives – and sometimes husbands – brag about their significant others’ talents, looks, and charm, not to prove to the outside world how great they have it, but to remind themselves? Could it be that we’re really so forgetful of the great things we have, that if we’re not constantly pointing them out, we start taking them for granted without even realizing it?
Doug tells me all the time how beautiful I am, how lucky he is, how perfect we are together. And then I have days where I must be miserable for him to be around, pouting for no reason, screaming about how much I hate my bike, demanding that he “get his shit together” – and still he loves me. He holds me, he tries to make me smile, he rides the tide of my tantrums. He is wonderful with me when I am horrible, almost as if he doesn’t believe I’m horrible at all. Could it be because he’s constantly telling himself (and yes, everyone else) how great I am?
Doug is young, and slightly obsessive, and can be a frustrating little son-of-a-bitch. But maybe I need to take a page from his notebook, so that I can blissfully overlook all those things, and train myself instead to believe he’s nothing but perfect for me.
And maybe I will – just as soon as he tames that thing on his face.