If you had told me 20 or 25 years ago that eventually I would have a Valentine’s Day celebration consisting of cooking steak and roasted potatoes after the kids were in bed and then eating them mostly in silence with my wife; the both of us wearing very casual athletic clothes (sweats, shorts, t-shirt, etc). That upon finishing the meal, I would drink the rest of my beer while I put things away and she went to bed—that all of that would happen but that I would find this immensely satisfying?
I would have not called you a liar. I try not to be too confrontational. But I would have had trouble controlling a facial expression of disbelief.
It’s not been the best day for either of us. She had a big argument with several of her closest friends and was in tears when I got home. We’ve both been fighting a cold and I was tired enough that when I sat down after changing clothes, I just fell asleep for a while. Four kids are a tough row to hoe on the best of days, which this wasn’t, so she was plenty tired too. It was my first day going into the office in over a week because of all the snow so I was home late. Dinner was also late, it was pretty basic and, frankly, I didn’t do the best job I’ve ever done on the steaks we got. I forgot to get her a card or flowers, but I did remember the chocolate (and I offered to make a promise I didn’t intend to keep, but she demurred).
None of what was lacking mattered though. Time has given us enough perspective that what we did have, each other’s company, the clear evidence of regard in the few things we did say, the kindness in what was able to be done, more than made up for the absence of things which would have caused lamentation in our younger selves. I miss many things from my bygone youth, but there are compensations to getting older. There are compensations.