There I sat, in the passenger seat of our car, feverishly typing into my phone. We were on our way to dinner to celebrate our seven-year wedding anniversary, and I realized that in between caring for a newborn and our 2-year-old ball-of-energy daughter, I never even made it out of the house to get a card. And I was feeling really bad about it.
So instead, I opened up my “Notes” app, and on the way to the restaurant, I made a list. My husband probably thought I was lost in the land of my cell phone (which, let’s face it, happens for the both of us), but I knew I had to get these things out of my head and into writing so I could share them with him over dinner. I almost didn’t do it because I didn’t want him to feel like this was my sad, last-minute attempt at a heartfelt note, and to be fair, it was last-minute. But it was no less heartfelt.
When we got to the restaurant and sat down, I pulled my phone out of my purse and read him my note. Here are seven things I love about my husband after seven years of marriage:
1. You leave everything better than it was. I noticed this today when I got in my car after you took it to run errands, how nice and clean it was, and how delicious it smelled with the coconut air freshener you knew I would love. It’s gestures like this that make your obsession with cleanliness and order not only tolerable, but charming, and what keeps me putting everything back in its place, resisting the urge to slightly turn things at odd angles just to mess with you.
2. In between all of the chaos that is our life right now, you can still make me laugh as hard as you did that night when we first started dating, while we sat in that booth at Legal Seafood, and I legitimately thought I was going to piss myself (or puke). I knew you were a keeper when I almost did both, and you just kept going because it was that important that you kept me laughing.
3. I love how much our kids love you. Ciro is so small, a newborn still, but I can see his eyes light up when you come into his view. As for Penelope, she absolutely adores you, and I love seeing the bond you two share. You have also made her laugh to her bodily limits (see No. 2).
4. I love how fiery you are. It is what drew me to you in the first place—it’s exactly what I need and exactly what balances the two of us out so well. You know I am a bit of an introvert, and I go into sensory overload when you bust through the door after work on fire and want to talk, and talk, and talk—at loud volumes, about everything. Maybe you can sense my eyes glazing over, or maybe you can tell that I’ve shut down and cannot absorb any of it no matter how hard I try. It’s because my days are full of little ones constantly yelling, crying, climbing and needing. But I still love how much you talk to me. Please don’t ever stop talking to me.
5. The last two years of marriage have brought us job changes, unemployment, pregnancies and (sometimes scary) births, and a hell-of-a-lot more to worry about and balance. But we are like a giant see-saw: When one of our asses hits the ground, the other jumps on it and raises it up into the sky.
6. You are a hustler. It’s in your blood, and you are so passionate that I couldn’t stop you even if I tried. I can see your wheels turning, and you are working even when it looks like you are just sitting there—kind of like a computer that looks like it’s hibernating but really has a ton of apps running in the background. But you always know when it’s too much, and you listen to me when I remind you that it’s time to slow down. You never get defensive. And you do the same for me.
7. I love how thoughtful you are when it comes to our relationship and our marriage. No matter what the celebration, large or small, you always do everything you can to make it extra special, and not in the way of extravagance or dollar signs, which makes me love it even more. I love to do the same for you. And I also love that, when there’s no time, you fully accept a note jotted down on an iPhone while on the way to a restaurant. I look at you and see that there is no one else I could imagine creating this life with, and nowhere else I’d rather be.
By the time I was finished reading this note to him, his eyes were watery. It made me realize how sometimes the smallest, quickest gestures can make us stop and breathe and show us what we really mean to our significant others. That when you are with the right person, it matters less that your message is on a glittery $7 card printed by Hallmark, and more of what those words are that you share, no matter that they are scribbled on a Post-It or typed into a Notes app.
Maybe sometime in the future, when we aren’t managers of every bite of food or diaper change or potty break, we’ll go back to those glittery cards. But for now, all that matters are those words that tell us how much we mean to one another, no matter how they are delivered.