Though Valentine's Day is coming up, it's a holiday that usually passes us by here with minimal fanfare. But one thing I love about V-Day is setting up a tiny tree I bought several years ago. It's a small, decorative, vintage-looking tree I got at a shop where I used to work. It's just the right size to sit on a tabletop, and has these adorable, charming little hearts that hang on its branches.
I was really looking forward to taking this tree out of storage and setting it up for our two-year-old daughter this year. I knew she would love it: it's so little! Those perfect heart charms! Her little fingers, carefully and lovingly hanging them on its branches!
I asked my husband, Greg, if he could help me take my Valentine's Day tree out of the storage crawl space, and his face went white.
Can you guess where I'm going with this?
I knew right then and there what happened. I could play the whole scene in my head:
SCENE: OUR CRAWL SPACE, MID-AUGUST. Greg was in there, rummaging around for something. Tiny beads of sweat began running down his face as he sifted through bins searching for whatever it was he needed. As frustration set in, the tree probably poked him in the leg -- and he took out his aggression by launching the thing into the trash. It's August! She won't even notice.
Fast-forward to present day. I noticed.
I don't hang onto much. I think I'm pretty low-maintenance when it comes to Valentine's Day: I don't want to go out to an expensive dinner, I do not ever ask for jewelry, and I don't even like red roses. Valentine's Day is a day to show our love for one another, and there are tons of little, inexpensive ways to do this! It's all about the love!
But you fuck with my vintage-looking heart tree, and I'll cut you.
I was still mad over the tree incident when I woke up yesterday morning, which was the morning of my birthday (I mean come on, Greg), and I think what was really bothering me was the bigger picture: the fact that he trashed something that was mine, without asking me. He felt like crap about it and he apologized profusely, but no matter how hard we tried it wasn't enough to make the garbage men from August come bring it back.
I asked myself: do I really want to spend my birthday pissed over something that couldn't be fixed?
When we sat down to my birthday lunch (yes lunch, because when you have small children you steal time and day-drink when you can), we ordered two drinks, and I cleared my throat.
"Listen. I don't want to spend my birthday mad over this, especially since there is nothing we can do about it right now. I'm going to let it go. I want to be happy today."
"Oh, good!" said Greg.
We took a sip of champagne.
"But I am going to find and purchase another tree."
"I might even google 'most expensive vintage-looking Valentine's Day tree'."
"And if in fifty-five years I am senile and don't even remember the thing exists, or if I tell you I suddenly hate it and instruct you to light it on fire, or if it picks a fight with you in a stifling-hot crawl space by poking you in the leg again, you will never, ever, ever get rid of it. You will take it out of storage every year and set it up for me. And if you ever throw anything of mine out without asking, hoping I just won't notice, I'm not even going to say anything -- I will simply set this tree up on our kitchen table regardless of the time of year, and you will know. This tree is now the horse's head of our marriage. Deal?"
Because marriage is all about compromise.
Alessandra Macaluso is author of The Real-Deal Bridal Bible, available on Amazon and Kindle, and the voice behind her lifestyle blog, PunkWife.com. Alessandra also writes screenplays and articles, and is a regular contributor for The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. Her original screenplay, "Polar Suburbia", placed as a semi-finalist in the 2009 Moondance Film Festival.
Learn more about Alessandra and the projects she is currently working on, here: AlessandraMacaluso.com.