Okay, so maybe I roll my eyes when Valentine’s Day is mentioned. Maybe I don’t get all goo-goo over the prospect of flowers, candy, and a date on the “Special Day.” Does that mean I’m not romantic?
I love romance. I love to find romance in every moment of every day. If there isn’t a happily-ever-after in a book or movie, I’m seldom interested. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me despair or panic about what might happen, but give me a happy ending!
It doesn’t take much to make me ooh and ahh. If you read my small town romance series, you know I’m a sucker for a grand gesture when my hero and heroine need to grovel after behaving badly (but never cruelly!) But the things I find most romantic, and the things my characters are best at, in my humble opinion, are the small things. (I like to think that they do all of the things I mention below, even if off-screen, so to speak.)
In real life, I’m lucky to have a true hero–the kind who wants to lavish me with gifts and sweet gestures on what I have dubbed The-Most-Commercialized-Love-Fest-Of-The-Year, but he’s learned not to bother. It doesn’t impress me. (Remember how I said I roll my eyes? Yeah, I’m obnoxious.) What does he do? He shows his romantic and kind side every day. Even when he’s annoyed with me. (Believe me, I test this theory a lot.)
So what does this romance writer deem more romantic than roses, candy, jewelry/gifts, and well-planned date nights on February 14th? Oh, so much.
A sweet smile. A random massage. A surprise delivery of chips and chocolate when that time of the month is approaching. An out-of-the-blue compliment. Taking out the trash. Helping to clean up the house without being asked. Listening when I’ve had a bad day. Being wonderful to our children. Driving them around when I can’t. Telling me I don’t suck when clearly I do. 🙂 Reminding me of my successes when I’m feeling like a failure. Believing in me. Believing in us. Taking the dogs out when it’s freezing so I don’t have to. Not getting mad at me when I’m cranky. Supporting all of my crazy ideas–even when they’re truly crazy. Watching my favorite shows with me even if he’d rather not listen to me sob through another episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Making dinner after a long day at work because I can’t muster up the energy. Refilling my nighttime water bottle even though I could totally do it myself. Helping me with business and computer stuff. Holding down the fort while I travel. Having in-depth conversations about various topics and not acting self-righteous or condescending. Never criticizing what I wear, what I read, what I think, what I feel.
Let’s just say there is nothing sexier–and I mean, nothing–than a man doing dishes. Or vacuuming. Or playing with puppies. Or loving children. Or standing up for himself in a kind, sympathetic way. Or letting go of his work-induced anger before coming home. Or engaging in a debate and not losing his temper. Or appreciating his partner’s flaws and talents equally.
I don’t begrudge anyone the joy of Valentine’s Day. I love the paper hearts and lacy doilies we collage in my preschool class. I never say no to chocolate. Or flowers. Or date nights. (I’m more of a cheap jewelry kind of gal, so jewelry gifts are wasted on me.) I love the perfume of love in the air. The sunshiney warmth that brightens an otherwise dreary New England February.
I’m just saying that if that one night a year is the only night that encourages romance, I’ll pass. Because love is bigger than an overpriced Hallmark greeting card.
A friend and I were hashing this out earlier. Jena has been in a wonderful marriage for many, many years and with many, many children. She agrees with me, though. In fact, her words about Valentine’s Day? “Appreciate and love those around you all year long. Don’t fall into the once a year pay three times as much for everything to prove you love someone.” And more succinctly, “It’s poppycock. Balderdash.”
I agree, Jena.
So what am I doing to celebrate the day? I’ll probably make breakfast for my kids while driving my sweet love crazy with overly loud 90s pop music and a kitchen dance party. We’ll spend the morning together. He’ll spend the afternoon gaming with his friends like he does every Sunday, and I’ll spend the evening going out to a movie with my best friend, Alison. (We’ll be seeing How to Be Single. Isn’t it ironic? We’re both in happy relationships, but our friendship is happy, too!) I’ll cap off the night with my sweetie by my side–well, across the sea of dogs who demand equal attention and affection. And before I drift off to a contented sleep, I’ll read a little from a romance novel.
Because love is all about appreciating and honoring your partner, but also about indulging in the things that make you happy. Giving each other space and being available when needed.
What better way to honor love than to celebrate it every single day?
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day (with minimal eye-rolling, I promise!) Whether you are single, married, dating, or whatever, I hope you are surrounded by the people or pets or hobbies that make you happy! Today and every day. ❤