Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Every other year I can remember since becoming older and a somewhat jaded person (this happened right after grade school I think) this day has meant two things. One, my sister’s birthday is today (and my cousin Susan and good friend Colleen’s birthday was the day before VD). And two, why in the sam-hell do we celebrate this stupid holiday? One day to celebrate love? Cripes, come on, that is not enough and it is all too much all at once.
I love love. All forms and sizes, in all the ways we package and do it up. I love the idea of it, I love watching it blossom in others. I love expressing it, in words and—ahem—other ways. My friends who have known me for a while would tell you that I have rarely been single. I have been perpetually falling in love with someone or another since 4th grade, Mark Beaver, my first true love. In 2004, that one true kind of crazy love hit me like a Mack truck booming down the highway of is-this-all-there-is? and set me free of my wanderlust. That one kind of crazy is she who is known here on this blog as Sweetie, my forever hot pants, my work out partner, my love and lover.
But damn, this holiday has a lot of hype and expectation. I hate it because it creates a lot of pressure to perform. It contains a time bomb of expectations: getting the right card, having the right meal, make sure the day is absolutely perfect. You know what isn’t perfect? Me. You. Them. Anything. Not one good god-damn thing is perfect. I just cannot get on board with expectations of perfection. I always fail. But also, I hate being wrong. And friends I am wrong about Valentine’s Day this year. This year, the first one I’ve been legally married for, was a game changer.
You know the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” well, it is my belief that perfection is as well. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Perfection is possible, given the ability to see it and receive it, the desire to attempt it. It may not be perfection to the giver, but to its recipient, ohhhhhhh. Yesterday, I received it, the perfect valentine, from the perfect partner. How can she be perfect? Because in all of her humanity, I know that she is perfect for ME, for us. How can it be the perfect gift? Maybe it won’t be for you, but for me, I received it beautiful and amazing. It made me burst with tears. Amaze-ing, as in I am amazed. How did she do this? How amazing is her mind to notice, to see such beauty in me, in us? I don’t know how, but she did. She does. I am lucky.
A poem from my love, my very own poet laureate, Karen “Ratchet” Mattison
Restaurant Workers Come Home Late
The midnight water is quiet when you slip
your body into the home port of our bed.
Anchor down, clothes peeled off and clumping on the floor
still with the shapes of your elbows, knees, and heels.
You are careful not to wake me, but likely hope that I’ll stir—
(it’s nice to be greeted after a long voyage).
Nightly I fight to float up from the bottom
of sleep’s ocean to hail my sailor
my mouth full of water and dreams.
We are not ships that pass in the night
shining a light in greeting and sliding by.
We are each other’s ship and harbor
mainsail and kedge
sail and sleep
adventure and rest.
Our cats jump like fish at the edge of the sheets.
Our midnight water is quiet when you slip
your body around mine as a ship’s hawser whorls the wharf’s bollard:
your twisted working rope spooled around my solid dock’s spur
secured but loose,
gently bobbing on the ripples of the moon’s whim.
So happy Valentine’s Day friends, yesterday, today and always. Go beauty! Go perfection! GO LOVE.