Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Isn't It Romantic

Romance... what a strange word to think about, really. It encompasses so many emotions and actions, and means such different things to each person that you can't really define it in a simple phrase. For my husband, romance is something similar to the image that the media has pushed on us for marketing purposes for our entire lives: Flowers, chocolate, a nice dinner, expensive gifts, jewelry, weekend trips, and so on. He can't seem to separate the idea of romance from a cost factor; if it doesn't cost a lot, it must not be romantic. To him, inexpensive flowers aren't romantic; a date night that involves coupons can't be romantic; and if for some reason you think that you don't need money to be romantic, you must be either a cheapskate or broke.

To me, on the other hand, romance involves far less money and far more attention to the needs of your partner, and consideration of their likes and dislikes. Romance for me would involve a situation where my husband wakes up in the middle of the night and tends to the baby so that I can sleep in, or gets up in the morning and makes breakfast for all of us so that I can get a break from the usual chore. It would be romantic if he left a note on my desk saying how much he loved me, or texted me a sweet little message out of the blue, or brought me home a bottle of my favorite wine so that we could share it later that evening. It doesn't take much, really, in my view; just a thoughtfulness and a sense of caring or affection that expresses itself in simple, everyday situations instead of grand gestures that take on a life of their own.


This week, for instance, Joel did something that I consider one of the most romantic things I've ever seen him do... I was having a pretty bad day for some reason, just feeling run-down, exhausted, drained, and dealing with a migraine as well. I was having a hard time dealing with Ethan's energetic interactions and trying to lie down on the couch and rest, when Joel came out of his office and said that he was going to Walgreen's. I just murmured "okay" and pushed play on Ethan's movie, expecting Joel to leave my rambunctious two-year-old with me while he drove away. Moments later, I heard him taking Ethan out to the car... and then drive away together. Even when they got home later, he took Ethan outside to play for a little bit longer, just so that I could have a bit more time to recover. I was so impressed, and humbled, and shocked, and deeply pleased by his gesture. It meant so much to me that he did that without even asking.

I know that for some people, that might not be so far out of the realms of possibility that it would seem like a big deal, but I can count on one hand the number of times he has taken Ethan out *by himself* since Ethan was born. One hand. So that is a big thing for us, and I totally appreciate it for what it is-- romantic, and generous, and loving. Now, if I can just figure out how to get a repeat without having to conjure up another migraine....

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