(a little bit of inspiration for this post)
I'm not big on Hallmark holidays, but every year Roy and I do at least a little something to celebrate Valentine's Day. Now that we have kids, we do a little something for them, too. This year I made valentines for Charlie and Simon, and presented them with those plus two books for Charlie and a hand puppet board book for Simon. My homemade valentines were kind of lame, but I am happy that I did something handmade for them. (I really want to be more of a DIYer.)
I figured I would make a valentine for Roy as well, but come the actual day of, I still hadn't done a thing. I read this post that morning, which inspired me to do something a little more fun. After bringing Roy lunch and getting the boys down for their nap, I got to work. Well, it didn't work exactly like that. I actually considered not doing anything and just trying for a nap. But I forced myself to be romantic. (I'm glad I did.)
I decided to write up five reasons I love Roy, each with a clue to a place around the house. When he got home, I handed him the first reason/clue, and so the mini scavenger hunt began. The prize was a sappy card, complete with three pictures: one of me, one of Simon, and one of Charlie, each of us wearing the heart-shaped sunglasses that I'm wearing in my blog header. I used my little instant camera to take the pictures and went through about three packs of film trying to get each one right. The pictures I ended up with weren't great, but I was running out of time. And since the pictures come out the size of a credit card, Roy can keep them in his wallet if he wants as a nice reminder of us.
After the boys went to bed, we popped a lasagna in the oven and settled down on the couch to watch The Kids Are All Right. It was great, especially because we were not interrupted the whole time. We got to sit and watch a whole movie. Inconceivable!
This quote from the movie jumped out at me:
...marriage is hard... Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It's a fucking marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you're together for so long, that you just... You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices...
Roy and I have entered into the "marriage is hard" portion of our life's journey together. I can say with complete honesty that our marriage had always been easy, even through all the birth trauma and depression. Adding a second child to the mix has put a lot more pressure on things. It is totally not something that Simon is to be blamed for (imagine blaming a three month old!); it's just that two kids are a whole lot more work than one. By the end of the day we are both so tired. It's hard to connect when you're tired and just want to be alone. But we're working on it.
One of the things that Roy and I have going for us is that we are able to be unflinchingly honest with each other. I noticed over a month ago that I was getting irrationally angry at him all the time. This is completely out of character for me and certainly not something that has ever really happened in our relationship. I was tired of feeling like shit about it, so I brought it up. And just talking about it made it a whole lot better than it was. I know our openness with each other is what will hold us together when things get hard. Because when you start keeping secrets, it's only a matter of time before it all falls apart.
Roy and I took the above photo of ourselves while we were watching the movie that night. We look happy, and that's because we were. Are. Despite the piles of laundry, our empty bank account, the crying children, and the unknown stretching far in front of us, we still love each other. He's my best friend. And as he wrote in his Valentine's letter to me, "it's strange to think of my life as a fairy tale but you have added magic to everything."