May 28—It may not mean much on your calendar, but on mine it means romance—anticipation, a dress, maybe some heels, a bow tie for my husband, wine, a meal I don't have to cook, dishes I don't have to wash, and mostly, it means conversation, long and lingering.
Whenever I think of the term mother-in-law, I can see Ray’s mom on Everybody Loves Raymond saying patronizing things like, “Now Debra . . . ” or “Debra dear . . . ” You might have your own classic version of the Hollywood mother-in-law in your mind, but most of us probably have some version.
The month of February in our house comes without a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. We celebrate the snow probably more than we celebrate anything. However, every year when about February 12 rolls around, I think, “Maybe we should do something for Valentine’s Day. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to get some presents? But presents cost money. That’s not good. Well, dinner then. Ooooo—what if it was at a fancy restaurant and we got all dressed up? That would be exciting! And what if there was a horse-drawn carriage ride, or a singing telegram guy, or . . . yes, that’s it, what if there were diamonds?!!!!”
My husband and I come from very different families. Like most newlyweds, we rooted around for what traditions we might maintain, where we needed to be intentional, and what ways we might burst out of our families’ molds and do something new. We read books. We prepared and enriched. We asked lots of questions of mentors and friends.
Every year I stand in front of a rack of shirts and ask myself the same question, “Which one would he like?” I wander around the store and find lavish gifts like dark chocolate and fancy deodorant. I wrap them up and place them under the tree or in my husband’s stocking. Occasionally I get wild and buy him a can of processed potato chips or something decorated in camouflage for hunting season.
We are a celebrity-obsessed culture. Every time we walk up to the grocery store checkout line, we are inundated with celebrity information. So-and-so got a new hairdresser, this other person wore it better, another person newly embraced religion, Brad and Angelina took their kids to the park, and so on and so forth.
A little known fact: our family enjoys the show iCarly. It's probably considered old at this point, but offer up a reasonably clean show with clever characters, for free on Amazon Prime, and you've got yourself some committed Goehmann fans. There is no reason you would need to know or care about this little known fact, save for a thirty-second clip of one episode, involving high emotions and Mexican sponges.
Every single one of us has something that our spouse does that grates on our last nerve. My husband quietly endures my need to walk around with a book open first thing in the morning; while I get dressed, while I make breakfast, sometimes even while I’m tying my shoes for a run. I also have this absurd need to have someone else fill my water bottle. I simply cannot do it for myself. For whatever reason, I like someone doing it for me. My husband and family answer to my cries of “I need water!” and fill my bottle, sometimes kindly, sometimes begrudgingly. It’s weird, but it’s me, and I’m a work in progress.
We inherited great-grandma Gigi’s giant dining room table. It came complete with four leaves, six chairs, and a tiny dot-to-dot print of a house from my mother-in-law’s craft project gone awry. Our table is a huge blessing to me, not because of the weight of the cherry wood or the pretty carving on each chair. It is a blessing because it allows me to gather my family all in one place, even for just a moment, safe and secure.