Why You're My Valentine

You’re my Valentine, because I never saw you coming, and I dig surprises.

You’re my Valentine, because you call just to say hello. In the midst of a tumultuous Monday, you crave my familiar voice, and I’m pleased to oblige.

You’re my Valentine, because you believe in me. You think I’m intelligent, and you respect my opinion. When I claimed that I wasn’t smart enough to work at Starbucks, you were truly enraged. I still suspect that all of those frappa-mochaccino-latte concoctions would be just as bewildering for me as high school chemistry was, but I keep that to myself now, because it offends you when I condemn myself. You hate when I joke about being a washed-up princess, and you vow that my greatest achievements are not in my wake.

You’re my Valentine, because you sense when I’m troubled, often before I realize it myself. Without a word, you clutch my hand and rub the knobby part just below my thumb with yours, and I’m blanketed in peace. When I’m uneasy about work, health, family, or even us, you erase the wrinkle between my eyebrows with your finger, and your unwavering eyes find mine.

“We’ll get through this kiddo,” you whisper with confidence. And I believe you.

You’re my Valentine, because you make me laugh so hard, for so many reasons, in so many ways. Whether you’re dancing in your long johns, mocking your Stretch Armstrong legs, doing an impression, or telling a story, no one cracks me up like you do. Sometimes it’s a silent, restrained laugh that morphs my face into a soggy, red marshland, but your personal favorite is the unforeseen burst. This is more of the Julia Roberts-meets-Santa-meets-Mister Ed, bellowing variety.

“I love when you do that,” you chuckle, squeezing my knee and thus giving me the freedom to howl as often and as loudly as I can.

You’re my Valentine, because you’re the coolest person I know. You’re one of those people who naturally carry themselves in a manner that is just smooth, like Mark Wahlberg or The Fonz. Lucky for me, you still hold a tiny shred of nerd inside of you- that husky fifth grader with a comb over that allows you to embrace snuggly Friday nights at home with me- reading books and watching Food Network. I love being seen with you, but I cherish those cozy scenes the most.

You’re my Valentine, because you put my happiness ahead of your own. You indulge me when I want to play the question game, even though I’m pretty sure you secretly hate it. You would prefer to dine where I choose and see the movie I’d enjoy most. When I suggest an action film I know you’d like, you shake your head nonchalantly, “Nah, you wouldn’t like that. Too much violence.”

You’re my Valentine, because you’re strong in your identity, yet you’re interested in growing and becoming better. I'm still learning this balance myself.

You're my Valentine, because you fill in the spaces where I lack. We're so different in many (sometimes infuriating) ways, but when combined, our distinctive traits make us interesting, surprising, and just plain good, like simultaneous contrast used in a Van Gogh painting.

You’re my Valentine, because you have your own life, and I have mine. You enjoy golf and poker with the boys, and I cherish dinner and talking with the girls. We embrace the opportunity to see our friends, but we’re always eager to reconvene.

You’re my Valentine, because even though I don’t know a fumble from a field goal, I love sitting next to you on the couch, fiddling on my laptop or flipping through Real Simple while you fervently coach Andrew Luck every autumn. Oh, and stealing kisses at halftime isn’t bad either.

You’re my Valentine, because you don’t pretend to always understand me. Why I have a sticker box at age thirty, you can’t unravel, but when I retrieve it to embellish a birthday card, you sneak a glance out of the corner of your eye and give me a “you’re cute” smirk. You’ll never grasp my penchant for glitter, nail polish, and chunky rings that turn my fingers green with oxidation, but you don’t berate me for it either. You just love me.

You’re my Valentine, because you are more generous than you can afford to be, and you aren’t concerned with praise. “Did you hear I bought my girl a plane ticket to visit her best friend in Texas?” you’d never brag. You did that, because you knew it would saturate me with joy, and you value of my friendships too. You donate to causes that are close to your heart, but you don’t boast about it or reveal it on social media. You are my compassionate, considerate Valentine.

You’re my Valentine, because you still treat me like you did on our first date. Two years later, you still open every door, unless it’s below thirty degrees, in which case I forbid it out of love and appreciation. Honestly, sometimes it’s just too cold for chivalry.

You’re my Valentine, because you keep me in mind with every step you take. You moved into your first roommate-free space, and you wanted my blessing before you signed the lease. You purchased the perfect gray sofa for it, and when it arrived, you called me excitedly, “We have a couch! She’s beautiful!” We. Us. Ours. These simple words speak volumes. 

You’re my Valentine, because you fought for me when waters got rough. You continue to. When my hand was on the door, you drew your sword without hesitation. You battled the dragons that threatened us- just like Prince Phillip did for Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. So, basically you’re a Disney Prince (sans the tights and puffy sleeves, thank goodness). You’re my Valentine, because our love is stronger than any obstacles we may face.

You’re my Valentine, because we’re lovers and companions. We’ve got a Will and Grace friendship fused with soap opera passion, and we know that’s like, impossibly rare, so together we fight. And we stay. And we love. 

You’re my Valentine, because you are beautiful. Your olive skin. Your speckled eyes. Your unruly beard on Sunday afternoons. Your busy hands. Your studious mind. Your benevolent heart. Thank you for making room in it for me.

You’re my Valentine, because you were my first boyfriend, my first love, and my first Valentine. And I’ll never be the same.

image: grahamvphoto