I don’t do enough special things for my wife. I know this isn’t a rare problem, particularly when children are small, but now that I’ve proven to myself that I can write lots of words every day, I can surely at the very least write a poem for her on Valentine’s Day.

I wrote the poem, a short poem, and I most definitely won’t be sharing it with anyone but her. I think she liked it.

Here’s the thing: I should probably have gotten flowers too, but I’ve always felt weird about doing standard, expected things. Sincerity is important to me.

I’m not what you would call a Christian, but my wife is, and when we got our daughter baptized, there were certain rites/prayers to say. I made sure to meet with the priest because I needed an explanation of what each of the things I was saying meant.

This isn’t because I feel like being insufferable about my religious beliefs and non-beliefs. It’s because I see something like a baptism as a very important ritual, and I don’t want to taint the ritual by doing something phony in the middle of it.

When I was in college, I attended more than 100 weddings (as a photographer/cinematographer), and most of them were Catholic for some reason. Probably 80% of these couples either lied to the priest or during their vows, and I’m being conservative with this estimate.

I’m all for a harmless lie to smooth things over or avoid a needless confrontation with a religious grandmother or somesuch, but to lie during the vows? It’s crazy to me: This moment that’s designed to be an earnest declaration of lifelong devotion, we slip a lie in there?

Anyway, maybe I’ll get her flowers next year, but I doubt I’ll ever feel a fraction as good about the flowers as even a five line poem that took 25 minutes.

I like rituals. A lot. I care about them too much, in fact. That’s why I experience so much resistance to rote ones.