Things are rarely what they seem.

Look, at this point in our marriage, given the kids and coaching and work and school and three competing computerized calendars, my expectations are pretty low for holidays, birthdays and, well, every day life. 

And, for those exact same reasons, I’m not super materialistic–a homemade card and a cup of coffee and my needs are pretty well met. 

But nothing? On Valentine’s Day? “Nothing” pissed me off. 

And “nothing” is where things stood as of 2:00 this afternoon.

So, when Brad arrived back at the house after picking up the oldest from a sleepover and appeared in the kitchen with this–chocolate and (not $65, thankfully) flowers and a 3lb bag of gummie bears and a store-bought card–I said, without looking up from my phone, “I’m always an afterthought.”

After 17 years, he’s learned that rather than make an argument in these instances, it’s best to walk away until  approached.

And so he did, flopping on the living room floor with the little two as I stewed. For, like, an hour longer. While I stood and read Facebook and The New York Post and email and contemplated my next move. 

Not wanting the flowers to wilt, I finally trimmed the bottoms and placed them in a beer mug (class, all the way), then read the card and glanced into the living room and saw Brad give a sheepish grin.

So, I walked over and plopped down next to him.

“You’re not an afterthought,” he said, tossing a foam basketball for Roo to chase. “You’re my rock. And so I put everything on you. Because of that, it seems like I put you last.”

Wrinkling my forehead (which, by the way, is easier and easier these days): “So, I’m the tough surface you pile everything on and then when you’re done dealing with all of it, I get your attention?”

Brad, smiling as if that’s the most endearing conclusion I could ever come to: “Yep.”

And THAT was the gift I received today.

The photo by itself tells the world I got the stuff most people in a normal, everyday relationship expect to get on Valentine’s Day. I could have left it at that. But the honest story, the real story, is that I got caught up in the holiday and acted like a child and through it discovered, once again, that I married somebody far, far better than I deserve. 

And he gives me way too much credit.

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