When I was a teenager and even a young married wife, I craved romance. I wanted spontaneous flowers, surprise dates to romantic locations, diamond rings and necklaces (all thoughtfully picked out to suit my taste and style), and grand gestures of devotion.
I was constantly disappointed, mostly because the rosy image of romance in my head didn’t match with the every day-ness of my life as a wife and mother of three.
I gradually loosened my clenched fingers from my “romantic ideal,” and not just because my husband thinks, “Flowers are stupid. They just die. Why would I spend money on something that is going to die?!”
My romantic ideal was simply not reality. I finally learned to accept it.
And then slowly, quietly, the reality of my everyday life became romantic. Not every day, not even every week (we don’t have a “date night”), but when I began to redefine romance as intentional thoughtfulness that tells the beloved, “I’m thinking of you.”
Our Tuesday evening was going to be special because Aaron was going to carve Halloween pumpkins with our twins. They were ecstatic!
As they gathered knives, bowls, and super-cool Angry Bird templates from the printer, I decided to start dinner, a thrown together “breakfast for dinner” concoction.
Aaron tuned in to his current favorite Pandora station on his laptop.
Bacon sizzled and popped in the skillet.
My older boys “Ewww’ed!” and “Nasty’ed!” as they pulled out the pumpkin guts.
My baby babbled and banged a tube of lotion on his high chair tray.
And then my husband said, “Hey, I want you to listen to this song.”
It was difficult. The microwave was whirring and dinging. The “GROSS!” enthusiasm was getting more enthusiastic. But I listened as I flipped the bacon, wiping popped grease from the back of my hands.
In the middle of all that distraction, I managed to catch the last verse of this Lee Brice song:
She knows what a mess I’d be if I didn’t have her here
But to be sure, I whispered in her ear
“You know I get sick deep-sea fishin’
And you make the best fried chicken
I got a hopeless golf game
I love the sound of your name
I might miss that old green ‘Nova
But I love watchin’ you do yoga
I’d take a gold band on my hand
Over being a single man
Cause honestly I don’t know what I’d do
If I’d never met a woman like you.”Full Song Lyrics
I caught my husband’s eye as the song played and he smiled at me, a sharpie in his hand as he drew faces on our children’s pumpkins.
I stared at this man, the father of my children, my partner, and friend, while the aroma of bacon joined the earthy pumpkin smell filling our small kitchen.
Tears pricked my eyes.
Pulp and seed were all over my floor. My baby was calling, “Ma-ma-ma-ma!” and wanting to be held. My twins started to fuss about “being done with picking out the seeds.”
But I wanted to capture this moment, take a mental snapshot and store it in my memory under the caption, “Perfect Evening.”
Because it was. It was perfect, spontaneous, thoughtful.
It was pure romance.