My wife and I just had our 16th wedding anniversary. My kids were making fun of me about how often I underwhelm on these big days.
The card and the flowers aren't all that impressive, I guess. But my wife told them that love isn't just seen in cards and flowers.
Dads, she said, show their love sometimes in different ways.
When there's a noise in the night and Dad gets up and searches the house and checks all the windows and doors while everyone else sleeps because he can't sleep knowing that he didn't do everything they could to protect you, that's how he shows his love.
Dads come running when they hear the squeal from wives or daughters (and yes, sometimes sons) when they encounter a large bug. Yes, sometimes love means squishing bugs and cleaning up bug guts off the white walls.
They take out the garbage, sometimes at night and sometimes when the truck wakes them up at 6 in the morning and they go running out in pajamas. Yes, sometimes love is a picture of a crazy man in shorts and a t-shirt and one slipper pulling a garbage can behind him.
Dads wrestle the children even when they're tired because sometimes kids don't want to ask for hugs but they know how to pick a tickle fight. They go to kids' games because they've seen the look on their children's faces when they spot them in the bleachers and they don't want them to look up and not find them. They watch "Pride and Prejudice" and listen to explanations why Darcy and Elizabeth are perfect for each other. A lot.
They paint a third coat, they shovel the snow, even on the neighbor's walkway because their wife asked them to, they take down the Christmas tree and pack up the lights neatly so next year it'll be fun and easy to decorate.
That's how Dads and husbands often show love, she told them, because love is in the messy every days and not the wrapped up in a ribbon once-a-years.