Laddu was at her school desk painstakingly taping Dum-Dum pops to her dinosaur sticker valentine cards. She was excited. It is all she has been talking about this week. Today, when she is back home, she will bring with her a box full of valentine cards, an assortment of stickers, candy and, adorable handwritten notes from her friends.
The older girls are not so much into it this year, at least not to my face. For all I know they could be giggling and passing secret notes to crushes at school or elsewhere.
I watch with the jaded eyes of a mid forties woman. Romantic love feels like a burden. A swing between hope and disappointment. Yet, I am romantic. All week long, I have been going back in time to 2001, to that time in my life when I was spoken for but not yet married. I remember with fondness specific outings, movies and places. That this year marks twenty years of togetherness is not lost on me. The weight of it feels momentous.
If the first decade of Saathi and I being together was about the romantic gestures, the next has been about partnership. It has been about who puts the trash out in the frigid cold and who folds clothes late into the night for the next day. It has been about food on the table, providing for the family, the occasional hand written note and the protein bar in the fridge.
I am sappy. I am a sucker for mile markers. I enjoy the planning more than the event. I live in the haziness of a distant future, neither present in the now nor anchored to the past.
Twenty years feels like a lifetime. It has been a lifetime. I think of the years ahead and feel a buzz of excitement. The next decade will see our children leave the nest. The decade after that will be one for us to take measure of the life we have built, brick by brick, year by year. The possibilities seem endless. The hope, eternal.