I’m a romance writer, so I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. The practice of it, meh. Valentine’s Day tends to center around love and food and romantic presents. Food is hard for me unless I cook it, and romantic presents tend to cost money (and grand, sweeping gestures tend to take time we don’t have).
The love part, though…That I can do.
Husband and I met when I was twenty, and started dating when I was twenty-one. Those were the days when the grand, romantic gestures meant more to me. Our first Valentine’s Day together, he bought me a sapphire ring, something he termed a “not quite promise ring, but yeah I think so.”
He gave it to me while nervously shifting his weight and only occasionally looking at my face. It was cute and sweet and, in its own way, hopelessly romantic.
Those first years together, he went all out. Romantic dinners we couldn’t afford, big presents–you know, all the things the commercials promoting Valentine’s Day tell me I should want.
But I don’t care about all that stuff anymore.
Oh, sure, I love big presents, and adore romantic gestures. But I didn’t marry a romance writer, I married a cop.
Luckily for him, he did marry a romance writer, and I can see the love in the every day things he does.
There is love in the fact that he will get up in the middle of the night to let my aging, demented dog outside, because he knows I won’t go back to sleep if I have to turn on the lights.
There’s love in the fact that he’ll cook tacos on days that I work late, because I like them. And last night, he did the dishes, even though I told him I’d do them in the morning.
I can see the love when he will go to sleep with the lights on, just so I can finish up edits. He doesn’t even complain, despite the late hour (it’s generally around one in the morning by the time I finish, and yes, we both will get up early and go to day jobs). But he will just lay down next to me and go to sleep, with his hand on my hip.
When he’s gone, and his side of the bed is empty, I can’t sleep, and I know, wherever he is, he can’t either. There’s romance in that, too.
And when I’m sick, he’ll stay home and take care of me. When it’s really bad, he rarely even leaves the room. He’ll just grab a computer and hang with me, and he won’t complain about that either.
So those are the romantic gestures I treasure. I don’t recall every fancy meal we ever ate (though some of them are quite memorable), but I do remember the little things he does to show me he loves me.
And it’s more than enough.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.