To Keith:

This year I didn’t sneak away into another room to make you a Valentine’s card with lacy doilies, red and purple hearts, a glue stick, and pictures of birds cut out from recycled magazines. I didn’t get you a fancy, new shirt to wear out to a gourmet restaurant we used to frequent for a big-bodied red zin and ravioli with truffle sauce. I didn’t even stop off at the market to pick up chocolates to eat at a Valentine’s picnic under the stars tonight.

This year’s gift is messier, stinkier, more exhausting. A constant source of worry. He took 39 tough weeks to make and will continue to require constant daily maintenance. You can’t put him away in a momento box next week, either, for he’s not a token of my love for you.

He IS that love in perfect, tangible form. He is me and he is you — smoother, softer, sweeter — with bright eyes looking out at the world and seeing that it is so much greener than we ever thought.

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