My partner and I live together. My partner and I work together, on the same floor of the same building. My partner and I sleep in the same double bed together. My partner and I operate in the same eight-foot by eight-foot front hallway to get boots onto the feet of two girls every morning.
I think it can be said that my partner and I love one another. And I think it’s fair to say that we love a lot of the things other people love about their partners - the more obvious ones like spending time alone, or drinking a bottle of wine when kids are asleep, or getting to sleep in every once in a while.
But I also think we have things we love about one another that are unique to us. Some of these might be the same things others love about their partners, and if they aren’t, they are still the kinds of things you’ll recognize. Very often these are things we don’t ever tell our partners about. Because we often think of these things as too small or too insignificant to ever mention.
“Oh my god,” you might think to yourself. “This reminds me of how they always rush to the door and tap the handle so the next person doesn’t get an electric shock,” or “this reminds me of how they kick the laundry in our room out of the way so we don’t have to think about how much we have to fold the next morning.”
Now, you don’t need to have a list of these things to realize they are reasons why you love your partner. But, in those moments when your kids have told you how awful you both are, it’s nice to open up that part in your brain that reminds you of how great they are.
It’s also nice to tell them. Because I can tell you right now that as a partner to a great person, I often wonder what in the world they need from someone like me. And because a lot of the time our partners may not even know how much the small things they do mean to us.
But they should know. Alas, my list...
I love the way she squeezes my leg under the table if we’re sitting - or squeezes my hand if we’re standing - when we hear someone spew off sexist garbage. It’s as if the squeeze activates a parental bullshit defense Transformer.
I love the way she knows the exact moment I’m about to fall asleep watching a movie on Netflix and screams into my ear “are you awake?!” as if she didn’t already know the answer.
I love the way we both want to cry happy tears during the summer when we’re around a campfire and find out we have an entire bag of marshmallows and an extra chocolate bar to make s’mores with.
I love the way we both make coughing noises to hide the laughter we know we can’t show when our daughter tells us she got in trouble for cutting her bangs at school.
I love the way I can tell she’s also looking at the weather app on her phone when it’s February in Ottawa and I hear her mutter “oh shit, please no, this can’t keep happening” from her side of the bed.
I love the way we have to play rock, paper, scissors sometimes to see which one of us has to be the one to chase our youngest daughter down to get her out of daycare and into the car. And I love that she is so good at it that I never win.
I love the way she doesn’t exchange Valentine’s Day cards with me until mine arrives in the mail for them a few weeks late.
I love that she bikes to the grocery store with a basket on the front and always saves room for flowers in that basket.
I love sitting beside her as she blowdries her hair.
I love that she cuts my hair for me almost every month and I always secretly wish each haircutting experience would last a few minutes longer.
I love when she falls asleep lying down beside one of our daughters even though it means there’s nobody there beside me when I roll over at 3 in the morning.
I love that she’ll read this even if I don’t tell her it’s about her because she always finds things I’ve written. And she always tells me that I forgot to put a comma somewhere.
I love her.