Like vs. love

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers out there. 

I am writing this column before Valentine’s Day and I can say with complete confidence that the love of my life, the Carpenter, did not plan anything romantic for me on the day that celebrates love. 

I’m not bitter. I still love him. But if I’m being honest, I don’t always like him.  

Truth be told, if he sent me a beautiful bouquet of roses I would be sure he was trying to kill me. Maybe I’m paranoid. It’s not like I have a big insurance policy or anything, but if he sent me flowers, I would drop dead on the spot and well, mission accomplished. 

Thus, I am happy to predict that no flowers were delivered to my office on Feb. 14. 

I realize funerals are not a romantic segue, but hear me out. The Carpenter and I watched a great show the other night. One episode centred around a funeral for a woman who was loved and admired by many, but most profoundly by her husband of many decades. In my favourite scene, the man is giving his wife’s eulogy. 

With tears in his eyes, he explains that in all their years together, he never stopped loving her. He didn’t always like her, he admits. He didn’t always agree with her. They had their struggles. They argued. But he never, not even for a minute, stopped loving her. It was a poignant moment that resonated with me. That is how I feel about my husband. Here’s a moment of marital reflection that reminds me that I can love the Carpenter when I really don’t like him. 

Things change and the closer I get to 50 (don’t rush me), the faster those changes appear. Lines. Divets. Rough spots. Rolling hills. I have the body of a golf course and no mulligans left on my score card. When did this happen? Why didn’t I love my 20-year-old mini-putt, mini-butt body when I was in it? 

Nature has settled the anatomy score. The geography is the same, but the landscape looks different. My body seems determined to settle. My mind is determined not to let it. And a recent medical mishap sidelined me long enough to let the battle rage on without action.

While I have every intention of getting back on a healthy track, it has spurred some self-esteem issues, the kind that could be solved with a kind word from the love of my life. 

But like the flowers that didn’t arrive, the compliment I wanted didn’t either. 

Standing before the mirror in our bedroom, in an outfit I have worn a thousand times before, I say aloud, “Do I look lumpy and frumpy in this outfit? I feel like my gravity has shifted.”  

“You mean like the melting of the polar ice caps?” the Carpenter said with a smile that, while confident, was also shrouded in fear. 

Nervous laughter filled the air (his, not mine), and he darted out of the room at lightning speed as if I might chase him. I didn’t have to. I can cast an evil spell from any distance. I’m that good.   

I admit, his remark made me laugh, because that sarcastic banter is key to our relationship. It’s how we play. This is why I don’t always like him, but I have always loved him. 

Some things never change. Some things never should.

WriteOut of Her Mind