Our 6th grade boy loves to remind people of the true history of Valentine’s Day by saying “Happy Decapitation Day”! If you think he’s rather morbid, read more here and here. 🙂

Though, I’ve written about this day a couple times with idea of keeping the everyday in mind rather than the candlelight and roses, those sneaky expectations still somehow creep into my heart. I honestly don’t really care about the card, the flowers or even the gift – it is simply the fact that he stopped in his busy day to think about me and remember what I love.

My favorite gift from him recently was his simple comment to someone at church who didn’t know about my writer-ness… “I think you need to start writing for the church newsletter so more people know you’re a writer!”

Trust me, I can find the things that irritate me and I wish he would just change but marriage is not about being happy. It’s the process where you become truly loved. Like the Skin Horse describes in The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

It is scary to be real and loved, but there is nothing that makes you feel more alive.

The years of being mom to three little people seemed to eat up the wife part of me. The last couple years, it’s been fun to remember we’re on the backside of this parenting journey. Our youngest is 10 years old. It’s not far to the days of late night drift-running just the two of us again. But there’s a lot of life coming up in the next 10 years – surviving middle school being high on the list.

So, when I hear the kids screaming, the phone ringing, or the dog barking, it’s a noisy reminder that this is truly just another day in paradise.

Even the bad ones.

The table in the picture above is currently waiting for my family to gather and find their places. There will likely be a squabble or two, but I will look over the candles as my pyromaniacs run their fingers through the flames for fun and just smile.

This man. These children. Our life together is just another day in paradise.