A friend posted a photo of an air fryer on Instagram today, gushing about how she LOVES her Valentine gift from her husband and her adorable kids. I was so happy for her I almost cried.
No, it wasn’t because I wanted an air fryer (the kitchen is my husband’s turf, thank you, Lord!), but because today it made me realize how different one’s view of romance is colored by the things for which you are grateful.
Now I’ll be honest. Sometimes the internet makes me hate my husband. I know it’s not just me, because someone actually blogged about it, I almost thought it was me talking. In this day and age of elaborate and Youtube-ready wedding proposals, the idea of a guy getting down on one knee sounds so…boring. So not worth uploading or ‘sharing’. And if it isn't worth 'sharing', really, what's the point?
When I see these wedding proposals on social media, it makes me think of my own. I think if it happened today, it would hardly merit a ‘like’. My husband R proposed to me in the gallery I used to own. (What? No romantic setting? No candles or roses? Where are the cameras???) He got down on BOTH knees and said ‘Mia, I love you so much I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me? Will you be my wife?’ (That’s IT?!? No elaborate spiel? Both knees? It was supposed to be just one knee! And get this: NO SERENADE?!? This is wrong! All wrong!) And then he fished out from his pocket a little container with a diamond. (No, I didn’t inadvertently leave out the word ‘ring’ from the previous sentence.)
All I could manage to say was ‘OH NO OH NO OH NO OH NO’ over and over again that he had to ask me if I meant yes. (I cried and I guess I managed to nod or say yes, because I now have two kids and I wake up next to him everyday.)
It took me two days to tell my closest friends I was engaged, and when I did it was only because R felt hurt that I hadn’t told anyone yet. Honestly, I felt like I was hit by a truck. R was big on romantic gestures all throughout our courtship that each time I thought that was IT, he was GOING to pop the question…but he never did. I think I figured it out by the seventh incident, and after that I just gave up expecting. I’m not sure how I thought he would propose, but certainly, a simple one seemed out of character. So when I got it, BAM! I was out for two days. But that is our story, and I won't have it any other way.
Our first Valentine date had him setting up a lounge, yes, a lounge, on the roof of his house. The area was lit up by hundreds of Tivoli lights, there was a sofa and a rug, and a little kitchen setup where he could heat the food he had prepared earlier that day, so we could enjoy it al fresco. Today, thirteen Valentines later, he and the kids were in bed by 8 after a fairly regular day of work and school and a TGIF snack at the nearby Pancake House, but it was a great day because of a really good start: this morning, I found a pair of earrings—my surprise Valentine present—carefully placed beside the toilet.
(Yes, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on how much thought went into that gesture.)
(Let me help you: it is a notch higher on the romance scale than having me fish it out of the bowl, and I am grateful he didn’t get creative that way.)
(See what I mean about one’s view of romance being colored by the things for which you are grateful?)
I think that the proposal was the beginning of the end of romance as I knew it or thought it should be. And I’m glad that the years have shown that while the love letters, flowers and grand gestures are always welcome, romance can take on many forms: a long, tight hug before breakfast; an afternoon movie with the kids; a well-prepared dinner every evening; a gentle squeeze of the hand in the middle of the night; difficult and honest conversations at 3 in the morning.
And so I bid this day of hearts goodbye with this nugget of sweetness I found on another friend’s Instagram post:
And so today
My world it smiles
Your hand in mine
We walk the miles…
If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you
When mountains crumble to the sea
There will still be you and me
This easy-listening-, pop-loving gal googled it and was stunned to find that it was from Led Zeppelin.
Romance, indeed, is where you find it.
Happy Valentine’s Day, R. I'm sorry I didn't get you a card.