Each year I think more and more about Valentine's Day. Life with a child (someone has to plan ahead for those treat bags) and life on Facebook make it impossible to forget it's coming. And when it arrives the newsfeed erupts with bouquets and "my baby knows how to spoil me!" and "I hate this greedy holiday. Grrr." and "My super cerebral husband doesn't celebrate it because he celebrates our love every day and I'm so happy he does that. Really. No, really. I totally am." You know what I'm talking about. So now the rose petals have settled and we can go about being unromantic the rest of the year without guilt. But, should we?
There are a lot of ways to keep the romance alive. I'm working on a list of them now so stay tuned. But, I had a moment on Valentine's Day that reminded me there is a way to do the romantic thing every single day (no flowers or chocolate required). And I have to say it's thanks to Mr. Bedgood.
He literally gave me chills this year with his gift. A signed first edition of The Time Traveler's Wife. Do you get me? Do you get this? I was blown away. Blown. Away. Because even though we are often on the same page sometimes we aren't (at all). There are times (seasons even) we aren't likely reading the same book. And so this gift was a reminder that this man gets me. He gets it. I looked over at our bookshelf this weekend and thought of the ridiculous books that I love to keep and the 800-pound old typewriters in the garage we have nowhere to display (but, we will someday because I love them. Deeply.) that have moved with us more times than my back cares to recall and I have a feeling anew that I am known.
Mike does a good job of making me feel loved. I'm not knocking the man. We all want true and deep and passionate and desperate and never ever ceasing love. (What Carrie Bradshaw called "ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming can't-live-without-each-other-love.") But, I realize the older I get and the more complex my wants and needs and vision and desires become and the more layers of my spirit that develop (and the scars and the damage) the more I think what I want is to be known and accepted. Maybe it's an easy thing for some people to be known. It never has been for me. Not really.
This love we have wasn't an easy one. It didn't happen at first sight. I've had that sort of relationship. The one that moves so quickly if you have any sense you stop and ask "why is it you like me/love me?" It was a question that was a result of two things — my lack of self worth and my knowledge that this person did not know me. Hard to love what you don't know. Mr. Bedgood knows me. I forget this sometimes.
This is me saying for the 800th time my "accept people for who they are" mantra. The only way to make that work is to know someone. Really see them. We all want to be seen. It's something you can't force. You can't open up your soul and bear it all and get instant results. Tried that too. Epic fail. Because people don't always care enough to look or to remember what it is you're showing them.
I read this amazing blog from the woman I consider the queen mother of momma bloggin' — Glennon over at Momastery — about asking the right questions in a relationship. About being intentional and specific about the questions you ask. It's a great read (take the time, it's worth it). And I think it's one of the two places you start to be known and to know your partner, your friends, even your kids (at some point I'm told these kids start answering questions with something other "Twain! Chooo! Chooooooo!" or "NO!" or "stickers").
The other way to be known — know yourself. Figure out what you love and wiggle it right on into your too full life. Life is all about priorities. Maybe you can't do what you love right this minute and maybe you can't do it often enough. I can't sit with a hardback book in a bubble bath, but I can read on my iPhone on those rare moments I'm waiting somewhere. I love to read so I squeeze it in. It's minor. It's everything to me. What's your everything? Find it and pursue it.
So as the flowers wilt and the chocolate dwindles (who are you kidding? it was gone by Saturday), I'm feeling the love around here. And I'm feeling known. And that's a gift that anyone can give. Open your eyes and take a good look at your partner, open your mouth and ask the questions to the things you really want to know. And then do the impossible. Listen. And do it without judging. You may discover a whole new layer to the person you know so well and they just may see a whole new layer to you.