So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

My husband is not a flower sender, or a jewelry giver, or a chocolate pusher. And that’s all fine by me, because in my world, putting the laundry away and emptying the dishwasher will get you way more action than a bag of Dove bars. And he knows this (wink wink). He does, however, give me the loveliest greeting cards. And I mean cards that say the exact right thing at the exact right time. The super sappy, triple-folded, rose- and glitter-covered Lifetime-movie-meets-Cinderella kind of greeting cards. I have saved every single one of them. With phrases like “I’ve discovered how much it means to be able to share hopes and dreams, good times and bad times . . . I’ve found the love of my lifetime . . . with each passing year I love you even more . . . ” they are the quintessential expression of his love. They remind me that man and wife actually do come way before mom and dad. He was my family before OUR own family came. But after 19 Valentine’s Days and four kids, I have a whole new idea of what kind of cards he could really have been giving me all these years. 

1. Valentine, Have I Told You Lately You Don’t Need a Shower?

My sweet wife, you are more beautiful (and dirtier) than the day we met, and that’s OK. If you only knew how much not shaving your legs for 10 days straight turns me on. And the ponytails in scrunchies? Hold. Me. Back. All I know of love, and personal hygiene, begins and ends with you. Now put down that lavender shower gel, you sexy beast, because nothing says romance more than smelling like Tilex Mildew Remover. Pretty please can we play “Knock knock, housekeeping” again?

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.

2. Valentine, Sorry I Knocked You Up Again.

I really should have believed the “I have a headache” line. Sorry about that. But have I told you lately how attractive you are when you’re pregnant? I mean, remember that time we were in the meat department and you threw up in your purse? I have never wanted you more. Or the time you puked in the car on my lap, or on the couch, in the bed, in the backyard, in the front yard, in the bathtub . . . So many wonderful places and touching memories. Being with child does wonders for your body. I mean, it’s like puberty all over again, if you know what I mean. New bras and all. You and our love child are the greatest refreshment in my life. And I will stand in that damn refreshment aisle for as long as it takes until you decide which flavor of Gatorade you can stomach today, because love is lemon lime, grape, or fruit punch. Whatev. I won’t let you down. Thanks for having my baby babies.

3. Valentine, Thanks For Not Running Away.

My love, mother of our precious children, thank you for always coming back. I know when things get rough you slam doors, yell like a bat out of hell, and peel out of the driveway because you just need to go drink hot coffee alone and buy cookbooks. No matter what, I always know you will be back, because you left meat out on the counter to defrost. I know you will come back to me and our kids, because we’ve watched Dateline together for so many years, and you know if you really run away and never come back, they always blame the husband. So thank you, sweetheart, for keeping me off death row. You can run away for a few hours, a whole day, or a weekend, whenever you need to. I will always be here for you, waiting for my great love to return to me. (But can you please hurry, because the kids are starving and starting to revolt and keep asking when mom is coming back.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.

4. My Love, Stop Cleaning. And Cooking. I’ve Got This.

You are the sun in my day, the wind in my sky, and the person who makes sure we have clean sheets—and for that, I am eternally grateful. Without you, my life would not be worth living, and I would weigh 100 pounds. For man cannot live on ramen alone, and for as long as we both shall live, I will make sure you always have the best cookware and vacuum cleaners. I thank God for sending you to me, because . . . uh . . . your lasagna. But I know what real love is. It is me making dinner once a month for you and the kids (ordering pizza) while you take a long, hot bath. I vow to nurture and take care of you and our home (help kids shove all their crap under the bed before our date night) so you can be the woman you really want to be. I’ve got this house cleaning thing under control. Until I leave for work tomorrow.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.

5. Don’t Tell My Wife, But You’re Still My Valentine.

I discovered true happiness, and house payments, the day you walked into my life. You, and the woman and mother you have become since having all my sons, amaze me. Don’t tell that woman, but when I see you, I still see the college girl I fell in love with. Not a weary, yoga pant wearing, grocery hauling, carpooling, overwhelmed 40-something mom. Nope. I see a 22-year-old co-ed. Our love affair can stand the test of time, bills, teenage angst, little boy disasters, and all-around constant family calamity. Thank you for still being my mistress, girlfriend, lover, and a “wife” when you kinda have to be. Like in front of the neighbors. And at PTA meetings. And in church. (It’s even OK if you sweat in the pews a little.) Stay sexy, momma, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Almost 20 years ago, I sat alone on Valentine’s Day. My roommates were primping for their Valentine’s Day dates, while flowers, balloons, and chocolates kept showing up at the door. I remember thinking and praying, “Lord, can you please just send me a bunch of smart, cute, and funny guys? Just this once?”

Be careful what you wish for, for God has a wicked sense of humor. I am now happily married with FOUR sons. I gotta say, it’s good to be queen. No flowers or balloons needed.

This article originally appeared on Huff Post

Melissa Fenton

Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer, adjunct librarian, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Awareness Ambassador. She writes at http://www.4boysmother.com/. Her writing can be found all over the internet, but her work is mostly on the dinner table.

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