So, it is Valentine's Day.
Let me just say that this is not, and has never been my favorite day. Ask me for an explanation and I will refer you to the fact that I had children before I got married. When Mike and I married, in fact, all three kids were in attendance, and when we went home, we had to give them all baths.
My romantic holiday is all taken up with Pirates of the Caribbean valentines, batches of marshmallow creme fudge that my son has volunteered to "make" for his class and three sets of homework that will need completing. Nothing is romantic about Tuesdays. At least not in the traditional sense.
That's O.K., though because I find my romance elsewhere.
Here is what is romantic:
When I suddenly separated from my former husband and Mike was not a romantic interest but my best friend of many years, he sat with me in dark rooms, long after it felt like the rest of the world had forgotten me, and told me that I was going to be O.K., because he was going to make sure I was O.K. And I believed him.
Before our child was born, Mike liked to travel and work only as much as he had to fund his freewheeling lifestyle. When our Mikalh (MEE-koll) arrived, he moved us to New Mexico and took a job that required him to commute an hour and a half each way and work outside in enough cold that icicles formed in his beard. Since then, he has never stopped working to improve his skills so that we can have more than we do.
Mike treats the two older children from my former marriage just like they are his own. Devin plays soccer, and so Mike took a position on the local soccer board, which as abysmal a volunteer commitment as you can hope to imagine, because he loves Devin, and wants to make sure he can play soccer the rest of his young life here.
When the pain of my fibromyalgia makes it too hard to raise my arms behind my head, Mike has shampooed my hair for me. He has helped me up the stairs more times than I can count and faithfully accompanied me to doctor's appointments and remembered to say whatever I was forgetting. He has done the housework so that I can sleep. "In sickness and in health" may have asked more of him already than he was expecting, but he has met the challenge, even if I have seen him have to close his eyes and take deep breaths to do it.
I do not need roses on Valentine's day, and I can't eat chocolate anyway. Let crappy store-bought notes and children's homework rule the day. Just give me an evening alone with my husband where we can talk uninterrupted, and enjoy one another's company together as Life races by us as if watched from a passing train.
Romance is nothing more than his hand placed in mine as I brave another day.