It shouldn’t be this hard, but Valentine’s Day gets tougher for me with each passing year. It’s not because of my wife, for she is a true believer of “It’s the thought that counts.” That’s what I love about her, because she is so unselfish and puts others before herself no matter what the occasion. So, when there is an opportunity to do something nice for her, I will always seize it.

I don’t necessarily have to wait for special holidays that seem to dictate a certain level of gift-giving. But Valentine’s Day is the exception. In the weeks preceeding Feb. 14, I am paying attention to little clues for something that she would like to have.

She might linger in front of it while window shopping, or pick it up only to put it back once she sees the price. Or she might verbalize it in passing not thinking that I’m like the NSA – listening in unsuspectingly.

She and our daughter recently joined a gym together so that they could fit some exercise into their demanding schedules. My wife wanted some new workout shoes. The pair she had were at least a decade old. She had newer pairs, but gave them to our daughter, who happens to be the same shoe size, size 6. So, I decided I would buy my wife a nice pair of athletic shoes for Valentine’s Day. I went for a top-of-the-line shoe from Nike called “Free.” Believe me, the name has nothing to do with the cost.

The hard part was shopping for a woman’s shoe on my own. It’s a department I hate to be in with my wife, let alone by myself. I just want to get in, get the shoes and get out. I perused the shoes on display and spotted the very pair I wanted to get for her. I looked inside and saw that it was a size 6. I flagged down a salesperson and said I wanted that exact shoe in the size I was holding. She complied without question and I left the store mission accomplished.

I presented the gift on Valentine’s Day morning. She loved it until she tried them on exclaiming, “My feet aren’t this big!” That’s when she discovered it was a size 9. Apparently I had looked at the size upside down. But I was quickly forgiven and was secretly relieved that I didn’t make that kind of mistake trying to buy her lingerie.