But I can't do it.
I've been reading some tremendous tributes, written by lovely women about their men, but I can't do it.
I tried. I erased this post more than once. I started it several times. I am struggling with the words, unable to put into black and white how he makes me feel.
We've been together (permanently) since 1993. We started dating in 1990, broke up twice (his call), but found our way back to each other each time.
We are not into PDAs, although we do hold hands and kiss each other hello and goodbye. We are not afraid to say "I love you" in front of family and friends, or even in front of strangers. We're not into huge romantic gestures, though, no big bouquets of red roses, no jewelry for each and every holiday, no pajamagrams or Vermont Teddy Bears. No big gifts, no big showy apologies, no big passionate fights.
In fact, we don't fight. We have no reason to fight. Some people have said that means one of us is lying, but it's quite simple: the same things are important to both of us - each other, the kids, our families. After that, what is there to fight about?
Yesterday was World Marriage Day and we renewed our vows in church. Married couples had to stand and repeat their vows in front of the congregation attending that Mass. I think we were the only couple in church to kiss each other when we were done. The words meant even more this time:
to love and to cherish,
in good times and in bad,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
'til death do us part.
Even though were weren't young when we got married (I was 38 and he was 48), you don't really think about how little time you really have left with each other. Every day together today is one less together in the future, and I know I want to be with him for many, many, MANY more years. There was one day a few years ago when he was sick enough that he wanted to go the hospital, but even through that, he was up and moving under his own power. We got to the hospital and we were walking to the ER door and he stopped in his tracks and said he couldn't walk anymore. I had to leave him and get a wheelchair. I have NEVER felt so helpless and scared in my life. I have never felt the potential loss of him like I did that day, and Lord knows I don't ever want to feel that again. In fact, I keep on telling him I'd better go first...
I can't picture my life without him. I almost don't remember my life without him. I look back and say things like "If only we'd been together then..." or "You would have loved..." My life is full of him. He doesn't "complete me" (shades of Tom Cruise!) but we are better together than we are apart, we are happier together than we are apart, we would manage if we had to, but we don't want to be apart.
I'm very aware of how lucky I am to have him. And I know, deep in my heart, that he feels the same way, and he shows me each and every day, in so many tiny little ways. We don't need big gestures. It's enough that he reaches for my hand before we fall asleep at night. It's enough that he doesn't need to go out and have a good time with his buddies, that he wants me to go along. It's enough to see the "I love you" when he looks at me, even if for some reason he can't say it out loud at that moment. It's enough to hear "I love you."
He is enough for me. He is all I want.
I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he loves me. That he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. And that feeling? For me there are simply no words to describe how that makes me feel. I feel loved, cherished, honored, protected, cared for. I know he's proud of me, that he worries about me, that he wants no one but me. And that feeling, that confidence in our love for each other, that is the gift that keeps on giving every minute, every hour, every day.
Happy Valentine's Day, J!!!