The year I was hugely pregnant with Clara, Jon and I didn’t have plans to go out on Valentine’s Day. But we got an unexpected babysitting offer at the last minute, and since all the nice restaurants in town were booked, we wound up at Chili’s.
Jon wisely got the fajita trio, but I had had my heard set on something a little more upscale, so in a fit of pregnancy-induced grumpiness – against Jon’s urgings and my better judgment – I insisted on getting steak.
I shouldn’t have gotten the steak.
It wasn’t a sappy evening straight out of a Kay Jewelry commercial, but how often do those happen in real life? If I’ve learned anything about marriage, it’s that the “special” days, the dressed-up dates, the anniversaries, the dinner-and-a-movie nights are nice…but they aren’t what really matters, what really makes a marriage.
It’s the hug in the morning after he snored all night and you’re pretty sure your breath smells like the garbage disposal, the midnight baby hand-off, the disciplinary back-up with the surly teen, the long kiss in the midst of craziness, the caress on a belly so stretched out by pregnancies that you aren’t sure how anyone could not be repulsed by it, the text just to say hello. The thousands of tiny choices we make every day.
Lately, I’ve been focusing hard on making my little choices count. Meeting him at the door when he gets home instead of letting him find me, back turned in my office, absorbed in Facebook. Kissing back instead of ducking my head and rolling over on those nights I’d really rather just go to sleep. Just being the first one to let my feet touch the floor in the morning, because I know he’s so often the last one to get his feet in the bed at night.
He makes those little choices, for me, too. Every day. I know this, when I take the time to notice. Which is a decision, too.
That is real, grown-up, married-with-kids romance. To me, it’s way more romantic than any smooth-skinned, dewy rose-petal fantasy. And you don’t even need a sitter and a reservation to make it happen…starting today.