The Worst Husband: Why I’m so Terrible at Celebrating Valentine’s Day

valentine'sIf there’s one holiday I dread the most, it’s Valentine’s Day. Not because of what the day represents, but because I never get it right. NEVER.

I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day until I met my wife, because I never had a reason to. Any relationships I had rarely lasted longer than a month or two and none of those months landed on February. So, Casey was the first girl I was in a relationship with when Valentine’s Day came around, and I have failed miserably each and every Valentine’s Day.

I think part of the failure comes from the first 21 years of my life when I probably didn’t even know it was Valentine’s Day whenever it actually was Valentine’s Day. The other failures have been a mixture of laziness and a complete misunderstanding of women — more specifically, my woman.

Several years ago while I was in law school, Casey and I were laying on our bed talking about something or other when the topic of Valentine’s Day came up. Casey knows that sometimes I consider the lack of a gift as a gift because then I don’t have to worry about how much whatever gift I get costs. Law students aren’t exactly known for rolling in the dough, so Casey told me she didn’t want to do any gifts that year. She just wanted to recognize Valentine’s Day, spend a little time together, and go about our day.

I thought she was serious. Maybe it was because she had an absolute serious tone when she said it. Maybe it was because I agreed with her due to our financial situation and told her I agreed with what she was telling me, or maybe it was just because I believed what she was telling me. Whatever the reason, I believed what she said and Valentine’s Day came and went and nothing memorable happened.

The day after Valentine’s Day was very memorable, however. Casey was hurt and furious that I hadn’t planned anything special for Valentine’s Day. Whoops. That’s the day I learned that no matter how many times Casey tells me she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day or that she doesn’t want to do anything for Valentine’s Day, that I still need to do something and get her something for Valentine’s Day.

The next year I secretively dove into the ginormous digital world known as Etsy and found Casey a nice handcrafted necklace. I purchased the necklace with a secret credit card Casey didn’t know about and I had it delivered to my employer’s address so that Casey wouldn’t have any clue that I had actually done something for Valentine’s Day. Everything was set. We had a babysitter for Addie and I had made reservations at a fancy restaurant where I would give her the necklace and she would be shocked and awed and I would be declared the best husband in the world.

It didn’t happen that way. The necklace arrived as planned and everything was set when Casey and I got into a surprising fight that ended up being one of the most intense fights of our marriage. Casey ended up spending that Valentine’s evening crying in the parking lot. Eventually we worked whatever it was that was wrong out and we made it into the restaurant an hour late and she received the necklace, but by then the moment had passed.

We don’t have those kinds of fights anymore, and I don’t buy her claims that I don’t need to do anything for Valentine’s Day, but here I sit in Cancun, Mexico with the bluest of blue water crashing against the shoreline no more than 100 feet from my laptop and I once again failed on Valentine’s Day.

This year’s failure wasn’t due to a lack of effort. I spent the last month trying to find the perfect gift. I have searched through the ginormous digital world of Etsy again, which seems to be so big now that finding what I’m looking for is almost impossible, without any success. I have asked friends and relatives for advice on what to get Casey, but nothing seemed to be the right fit for Casey.

Not getting Casey something for Valentine’s wasn’t an option and not just because of lessons from previous years, but because Casey gave me my Valentine’s gift a week ago — a fancy kit of all kinds of pure maple syrup. The perfect gift for a maple syrup snob like myself.

I finally figured out what gift I wanted to get her, but I haven’t been able to find it.

*This part’s for Casey*

Casey, I love you and am very happy that I am getting to spend Valentine’s Day with you in Cancun. Your gift will be a little late this year, but I promise its lateness isn’t due to my laziness or lack of trying. You will have it soon, I promise. In the meantime, I promise to spend all of this day with you doing exactly what you want to do and I’ll even make sure to nudge the iguanas that are lounging all over the walkways out here out of your path.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Babycakes.

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