Tiny Love Stories: “He Knows Better Now”

“Your favorite New Year’s Eve of all time?” I asked my husband of 10 years. I remembered our early romantic stroll down the Champs-Élysées, champagne and kisses shared between us – but I was open to hearing his choice. Patrick smiled dreamily and said: “The rose garden in Bern: snow falls gently here.” Less gently than before I said: “Let’s try again. What was your best New Year’s Eve ever – not with your ex-girlfriend, but with your wife.” “Oops,” he said, realizing his mistake. In January we celebrate our 30th anniversary. (Yes, he knows better now.) — Margaret Ghielmetti

When my mother visited my first apartment, she presented me with a gift, wrapped in her signature fashion with tissue paper and two bows. A patterned tea towel lay rolled up inside. For almost 20 years she gave me new towels for my birthday, Christmas and other random occasions. At one point I thought, “Enough! You have too many.” But they kept coming: polka dots, colorful stripes, imaginative illustrations. Now, nine years after my mother’s death, I reach for the whimsical towels in my kitchen and think of her several times a day. — Jocelyn Jane Cox

“She’s getting useless!” My husband joked with friends when I was pregnant with triplets. Funny because it was true, and it poked at my abiding belief that my productivity determines my worth. I always strive to earn my place: at school, at work, and among friends. When our beloved babies were born, I felt the weight of their inherent worth. Of course they couldn’t do anything helpful. But they didn’t have to earn our love, and they never would. Suddenly I saw that if it applied to her, it had to apply to me as well. — Deborah Erstad Donnelly

Every time a stranger compliments my bike, I want to tell them about you. I want to say, “Thanks, my ex-girlfriend built it for me. I know nothing about bicycles.” When you gave me the bike, you explained its characteristics to me. Then you said, “The real gift is the seat,” and explained how the leather saddle would soften over time. It also took me a long time to soften up. Sometimes when I hear strangers say, “What a cool bike,” I regret that I was so rigid when we were together. I say “thank you” and move on. — Tess Veuthey

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