I don't talk too much about Steve in this space, but in honor of the upcoming cliche'd holiday I thought I'd talk about one of his best qualities, the one that drew me to him and keeps us close even while we seem to spend all our time working and taking care of Lexie. He has lots of great qualities -- he's intelligent, curious, and a great dad, to name just a few. But the quality I want to talk about here is his understated sense of humor.
When we first met, Steve was the ultimate gentleman, and he kept his sense of humor under wraps. It was around our third date that he really made me laugh for the first time, telling a story about how he'd gotten to hold a friendly three-toed sloth in South America, ending with the opinion that it would be the best pet ever. When I asked why, he said, "because it hardly ever goes to the bathroom."
He also re-enacted a later encounter with an UNfriendly wild sloth, which he and his officer friends were trying to poke at while they smoked cigarettes near a pier off the Panama Canal. That sloth tried to claw at their faces. But being a sloth, the attack went in super-slow motion -- snarling face, nasty-looking outreached claw and all.
Steve has a talent for defusing my irritation. A couple of summers ago, he took to leaving his flip flops in the middle of the living room. I finally complained that they were making me trip. He looked at me solemnly: "Me too." I laughed. He started putting them under the couch instead.
When I came home from the hospital last year, the house was pretty dirty. After a couple of weeks (during which I was recovering from an emergency C-section), I pointed out that there were dust bunnies the size of tennis balls under the dresser.
"You think that's bad?" he asked. "You should see under the bed."
Happy V-day, Steve. I couldn't imagine it with anyone else.