I’m not usually big on holidays—mostly because of commercialization. Don’t get me wrong, I make turkey for Thanksgiving, ham for Christmas, lamb on Easter, and on Oct. 3, I make hutspot. Hutspot is a carrot and potato mash and celebrates Dutch political and religious freedom. (And, yes, the mash tastes much better than it sounds.)
But these holidays are real and celebrate something of historical weight. Valentine’s Day, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I believe love is real. I just don’t think a Hallmark card, a box of chocolates, or an expensive dinner has a lot to do with real love.
Real love was the other morning when Cal told me, “I’ll make breakfast. You sleep in. You were up all night at ER with your mom and dad” (which explains why there was no blog post on Friday). It was years ago when Cal volunteered to take an extra Matt session. When Matt’s autism was severe, he only slept 3 hours out of 24—the rest of the time he screamed. So to take an extra Matt session meant another hour plus of rocking a screaming child who would not be comforted. That beat any Hallmark card hands down.
It’s the two of us replacing a bathroom sink, painting the sliding, figuring out how to put in insulation—it’s the hundred projects we’ve done together where we laugh, mutter imprecations against direction writers who clearly don’t know English, and where I step in the paint tray (it happens with every painting project we’ve ever done).
Yes, I’ll say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to Cal and tell him that I love him. And he’ll do the same. Then tomorrow, we’ll go to the store and buy conversation hearts at half price—which is my favorite part of Valentine’s Day.