Today is Valentines day. I figured I would write about love or some shit. I could talk about how much I love my wife and how amazing she is and how she deserves so much more than chocolate and flowers. I could write about how this year, gifts just isn’t really an option due to finances. I can talk about how I learned about the biggest way I could show her I love her is through all the little things in life. I could tell you all about my relationship and how it works and our love.
Have a cute photo of us anyway though
But I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to talk about what I hope my relationship someday becomes. I’m going to talk about the GOAT of relationships in my life. I’m going to talk about my grandparents. My grandparents, who in our family were lovingly referred to as Ganny and Papa, had a relationship that I have always strived to obtain. They were old school. Papa was the provider. Ganny was the matriarch. Papa would fix things and build things and bbq. Ganny baked and sewed and knitted. But growing up, they were perfect.
This was them. All the time.
I had them up on a high pedestal: they always held hands. They kissed just because. Papa gardened and he would always bring in a flower or two for Ganny. Ganny would always make sure Papa’s stains came out of his nice shirts. She would make him dinners she knew he would enjoy. She would patch up his clothes so it always seemed like he never needed new ones.
But one of my favorite things about their relationship was their valentines day tradition. Every year, Papa would hand make Ganny a valentine. It would be heart shaped usually but sometimes it was out of paper. Or wood. Or felt. And he would always write some cheesy valentine line on it.
“Now you have my heart. Happy Valentines Day.”
“I wood be nothing without you. Happy Valentines Day.”
“My love grows for you each and every day. Happy Valentines Day”
I loved coming over around Valentines day because Ganny would display the valentine Papa made for her on their mantle and I loved seeing what Papa would come up with every year. Ganny would always tell the story of how he presented it with pride while Papa sat in his spot on the couch with a humble smile on his face. Every once in a while he’d pipe in with a detail Ganny may or may not have known. I lived for these stories from them. They always made me extremely happy.
I lost Ganny in 2016. Papa passed away last year. I could tell how lonely Papa had gotten once Ganny had passed. My mom and I would go over once a week for dinner and I loved our dinners, but it never felt like enough. I always felt bad leaving at the end of the night. You could tell he missed his wife.
I hope my marriage lasts just like theirs. Strong and fully in love.
This year is the first year they will be back together again for Valentines day and I know Papa is making Ganny something amazing wherever they are. It will be handmade and cheesy and full of love and it will be wonderful.
They weren’t perfect people, but they loved with their entire hearts. They taught me that love is the greatest gift you have to give and when executed correctly, it is fun and silly and meaningful and isn’t something one overthinks and is never harmful and is always amazing. But most importantly, they taught me that sometimes, the best gifts are the simple ones made with love.
Ray Long (they/them/theirs) is just your average, every day lesbian with a ton of ideas floating around in their head. They have done many interesting things in their life including, but not limited to, performed off-Broadway in #LifeLines: Queer Stories of Survival with The TMI Project and Trevor Project, spoken at Trevor Live in LA and NY, designed and ran lights for (Wo)men Rule Broadway, has their own YouTube channel and is the lesbian presence on Gayme On, a podcast about gaming and geek culture from a queer perspective. They are married and has 4 fur babies.