I'm not much of a romantic. Marc and I never did much for Valentine's -- a card, maybe a token gift, but aside from that, it was really a Hallmark holiday suited more for kids. What bothers me now, more than anything, is that this silly holiday reminds me exactly where and when I experienced some of my deepest hurts. Given the context of the holiday makes it all the harder.
I was really struggling last week with those emotions. I was glum and agitated -- just trying to muddle through. Brian and I spent the weekend sifting through household items and reorganizing. Blending two homes is a lot of work and we have been diligently picking away at the monster project before us. I was in Marc's closet, removing some of the last, seemingly unimportant, items. One of those items was an old Coke crate. Marc collected antique Coke items and I thought this was just one of the many collectibles in the house. I had overlooked this crate for years, remembering that it held some old glass coke bottles. It did hold some old bottles; however, when I opened it, I was blown away. Nestled next to the bottles he had squirreled away, what I believe to be, every single card, love note, post-it note, and scrap of paper the kids and I ever gave him. Upon further inspection, I discovered that he not only kept the notes, but had written on most of them the date he received them and why. From the amorous to the mundane, he kept them all.
The kids and I sat down and carefully sorted through the cards. They delighted to find some of their earliest handmade cards. They read through many of the notes I sent Marc, and asked a lot of questions. What struck me most was all the notes of encouragement -- notes I sent when he was discouraged at work, frustrated, or worried about finances. I was amused that I could remember those events, but they don't seem like they were that big of a deal. Minor stresses as we lived life together. Sure, they seemed big at the time, but not important enough to remember today. All I remember was a loving husband and a marriage that endured a lot of tests. Pretty simple.
I consider that treasure box of memories my last Valentine's Day gift from Marc. It makes me smile to know that my notes and words encouraged him, and touched him enough to keep all these years -- that he chronicled our life by making notes to remember those times. It validates what I already know was a great love story.
I have to admit that the box of memories lifted my spirits and gave me new perspective. I am content, moving forward, and yes...happy. I was also reminded that what I had was amazing. I'm looking forward to bringing what I learned with Marc into my relationship with Brian. I would encourage those of you that are blessed to be married to look at the bigger picture. Love each other. Encourage each other. That's the stuff that matters. All the other stuff....well, if you do it right, it's the small stuff and it's not worth worrying about. Trust me.
Mounds of memories....I still can't believe he kept all this.
This was a post-it note that I stuck to his wallet when I dropped it off (apparently....I don't remember this). He must have thought it was pretty special that his girlfriend, at the time, would do this for him. Who woulda thought a quick post-it note would have meant so much then...and so much now?
This was a quick love note I left when I took off for a baby shower just before the boys were born. It was a note about what I had prepared Marc and my dad for lunch, and telling them to have a good day....and that I loved him. Again, who in the world would keep this stuff?!? All I can say is that my kids find it fascinating.
Most of the holiday cards are dated. They obviously meant more to him than I ever knew.
With love and gratitude.....