I love you.
I didn't buy you any flowers, or candy, or a mushy card, or a strip-o-gram. (ha)
I didn't make arrangements to be off work, or reservations at a local hotel that has a Valentine's Day "Special," or arrange for someone to keep our boys so we could go out.
I didn't take the time to finish that wood jewelry tray I started for you a couple of years ago, or create a special card for you on the computer, or help the boys make glittery heart-shaped messes to give to you.
I didn't call right after midnight to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day, or leave a little note where you would find it while I was at work, or send you an e-mail you would find while I was sleeping.
I didn't write you a poem, or a long love letter, or draw you a picture.
I know that out of all these things, I missed a lot of opportunities. But I also missed some more opportunities that I know you appreciate even more.
I didn't get drunk, or high. I didn't solicit a prostitute, or cheat on you with anyone. I didn't beat you or the kids, or cuss at you, or leave you. I didn't throw things, break things, sell things for drug money, drink up my paycheck, throw you out, stay out all night, hang out with my friends, sit in front of the TV watching sports, talk trash about "my old lady," threaten you, or even yell at you. I only did what I always do.
I let another holiday slip past without my attention because it is one of my foremost character flaws. You're never angry or upset, though I'm sure you are disappointed. You know, after more than 17 years of marriage, that I love you and am dedicated to you and our family. You know that I had a poor example in my father, who I have never seen give my mother a gift, even once. You know that with near Herculean effort, I manage to remember, prepare for, and actually come through with a gift or two, sporadically, for various holidays. You know it is against my nature to do this. And, you know the ways in which I am able, and DO show my love for you.
-I am a trustworthy husband, who tells you "yes" a lot more often than "no," even to the detriment of our finances at times.
-I am a dedicated father who strives to ensure my flaws are not transferred to my children.
-I am a responsible man, willing to do what it takes for us to be happy, to prosper, to stay together, to raise good sons, to survive life's pitfalls.
-Who I'm with, what I'm doing, where I am, when I'll be back, why I went.
-I give of myself to you in ways I could not with a material "gift."
You know that I love you.
Thanks for sticking with me till the credits roll. Thanks for always telling me you wish I didn't have to go to work. Thanks for listening to my lame excuses as if they had merit. Thanks for letting me vent. Thanks for taking care of my sons and being their best teacher. Thanks for encouraging me. Thanks for providing a place for me to relax, a refuge against the onslaught of a sinister world. Thanks for supporting me through all we've been through. Thanks for choosing to support me all those years ago and never wavering in that choice.
I hope you have a Happy Valentines' Day!