Well, it's February. The month of love. I guess most people need a month set aside to remember and show appreciation to the person they love. I don't think my husband and I have ever really made too big of a deal about it. When we first got married we were too broke to do much for Valentine's Day. A little further into our life I started working as a floral designer. The LAST thing I wanted was flowers for Valentine's Day. And, unless you plan months ahead of time, it is impossible to go out on that night. We tried, once, before the kids were born. We waited 3 hours for a table at a steak house. You can learn a lot about humanity sitting in a bar for 3 hours. And you figure out that you could have planned something just as good to eat at home without all the crowds and expense.
My husband is a lot like my dad in some aspects. He does stuff. My dad used to pack our school lunches, get us ready in the morning, cook breakfast when his schedule allowed, did laundry, shopped, did yard work, when we weren't living in military housing, and ran errands. My mom took care of the budget and the miscellaneous appointments that come with children, cooked, cleaned the house, (although my dad knew how to clean also) sometimes ran a Brownie Girl Scout Troop, and sold Tupperware. Sometimes she even had a part time job. They shared responsibilities. So it is with my husband and I. Although I must admit, over the years, I am getting the better part of the deal. Doug does all the laundry; he is a laundry whisperer: family brings him stained clothes when they come to visit. By the time they go home, the article of clothing is perfect. He pays all the bills and tracks our finances. I freely gave up this job early in our marriage and now the job is so fine tuned and computerized, I wonder how I would do this chore should something happen to him. He handles keeping up the cars and keeps the sprinkler system going and maintains anything electric or electronic in the house. We share the cooking, although now that he has retired, he seems to be doing most of the shopping and cooking. He has a favorite recipe web site. And now that we don't have the kids at home, we run most of our errands together on the weekends. You ask, "What do you contribute to this relationship?" I admit it. I'm spoiled. I'm in charge of buying stuff: socks, underwear, the cat's flea medicine, deodorant. I cook breakfast every morning and put hot water in his coffee cup to warm it up. I keep up with most of our friends and relatives, and do the Christmas cards every year. I do some food shopping. I do the gardening. Not the mowing; we have a gardener for that, but we have a big yard. It takes a lot of plants. I cook on the weekends and bake at the holidays. And I deal with insurance companies and medical offices, especially when they do something stupid like double billing us. We share our responsibilities, even though some others may not think it is done equally.
So, this is love. Not one day, in one month, of the year. But everyday. Warm coffee cups, clean socks and underwear, and because not just one of us is doing all the work, time to spend together. The gift of time is the best gift of all.
P.S. Wow. That last sentence sounds like the ending of a Disney movie :)