Then one of my friends asked me, "But what are you really doing for your anniversary?"
Huh. Until she said it, it never dawned on me that there should be more. Now, as I revisited the comments, I found myself wondering how many other people were really thinking, "That's it? She all excited about fourteen tulips and a box of cookies for twenty one years together?"
I know, I'm a cynic.
It's terrible, but after all I'm used to watching grand gestures of love scroll by in my personal feed. Flowery declarations from husbands to wives and vice versa, photos from sandy destinations both near and far and of course, the big sparkle. Grand celebrations of adoration for all to see. In comparison, I'm sure that my grocery store offerings don't seem like much.
They don't measure up.
Or do they? I guess the answer depends on how you measure love?
I remember being on the nursery school playground when the talk was about whose husband showed up with a car or giant diamond for some occasion. Well, they fight a lot, we were told, so this is his way of making up for it. It was apparently a very common story in my neck of the woods. The argument was that they had a good marriage, because regardless of his behavior the rest of the year, that gift proved that he loved her.
I would just rather have a guy who is nice to me every day, instead of angst filled months punctuated by some annual mea culpa and I have always told my husband that...even though truth be told, it was never necessary.
He's a nice guy.
We met at thirteen at a roller skating rink. We were just friends, albeit smitten with each other, until we were twenty one. Over the years, we both dated other people. I went to black tie affairs and stellar restaurants with guys in fancy cars. I received expensive bouquets, delivered to my office, making all my coworkers swoon...and I was generally very unimpressed.
Yet, sitting on the curb outside my home, on a random Wednesday evening, with my future husband, then just my friend, laughing and tossing pebbles into the street, I could barely catch my breath. The moon was brighter, the air was clearer and no ballroom could have been more elegant. When it was time for him to go, however, the magic went with him and I was just alone in my dirty driveway. Had he left me with some expensive gift, I am sure I would've been thrilled, but I still would've preferred to have him back with me.
It wasn't gifts that made me love him.
I said yes, to a proposal that did not include a ring. Neither one of us had a dime and after four years of dating and a million years of friendship, we didn't want to wait for a diamond to start our life together.
My mom gave us my grandmother's rings. They were tiny, dull, worn and, while fashionable in the 1920's and considered vintage today, they were definitely not in style back in the early 90's. Most of my girlfriends just smiled at me, almost in sympathy. It was not the 1-2 carat Tiffany setting they had. My rings did not measure up and clearly, I was not marrying very well.
As the years have passed, my husband has presented me with other rings, gorgeous rings for random anniversaries and such. Never once have I thought of replacing my original bands. They represent our beginning, our commitment. However, I also wear them all, old and new, with the understanding that they are not us. They don't represent how well I married or what we have together. They are merely things and no matter how big or small they are, they do not measure our love.
So how do I measure our love?
Well, the fact that my husband gets up every day at the crack of dawn, to go to work to provide for us and keep me home with our kids is love. The fact that he comes home to me every night is love. The way he dotes on his children is love, the way warms up my car, makes me dinner on the weekends, rubs my feet when I plop them on his lap every single evening without a groan, that is love.
They way that my husband, who had no interest in flowers, knows that cheap tulips (because they'll all be dead in week anyway) are my favorite is love...
And recognizing all of those little things, no matter how unglamorous they may seem to others, is how I measure it.
Well, that and whatever the scale says next week after I finish that entire box of cookies.
Because there's no way I'm sharing.
How do you measure love?
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