Love evolves – from butterflies in your stomach, to romantic dates, to a considerate commitment. Falling in love is only the beginning; here’s what Valentine’s Day means to this passionate mom.
I remember days devoted to romance years ago. We’d start the morning slowly with kisses and love notes. We could take the day off, pack a picnic for two and stroll through a park for hours talking about our dreams and how we adored each other. We could fill an afternoon at home with passion and flirting, then take our time getting fancied up for a night out. We could stay out for hours and lose track of time.
Fast forward a few years, add a couple of kids, and romance looks a little different…
What used to be a slow, easy morning now starts in a hurry with a child or two sprawled between us. You look at me with adoring eyes over the tangle of arms and legs that inevitably start moving as we greet each other. No time to waste, we’ve got to get the day going. That personal time off is saved for family vacations and actual sick days.
A pair of little wet hands delivers a sweet note to me that you had stuck to the bathroom mirror, curious to know what it says. As the hustle and bustle is in full swing to get everyone fed and to get you out the door, you pause long enough to pull me in for a long hug and a kiss. For a moment, the background noise fades until a little one catches on and yells, “BEAR HUG!” and our private moment becomes a family affair. You leave me standing there in the kitchen, still in my sweatpants and a messy bun but you look at me like I’m standing there in my high heels and perfume, and give me a wink on your way out.
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I intend to text you before lunch about how dapper you looked this morning and how I’m looking forward to our date, but after changing diapers, swinging kiddos in the backyard and cleaning spills, I look up and it’s the afternoon already. The afternoon goes by in a flash, too, but I manage to write a card to you during nap time about all that you and this life we’ve built mean to me. I put it by my purse so I can give it to you at dinner.
You come home with flowers and everyone is interested, so they get divvied up between all of us. The flowers left sitting in the vase may seem a little disheveled to some, but to me, they make a gorgeous bouquet. By some miracle, no one is sick, the sitter is available and we sneak away for a few hours to eat at a place that doesn’t have crayons and kids’ menus. I realize when we arrive that I forgot to wear my “date night” lipstick, but you tell me you never notice when I’m not wearing makeup anyway.
During this time devoted to just us, we discuss what we’re reading and dreams for the future, but the conversation is peppered with love for those little ones. We can’t help but gush over the latest drawing our oldest made or the way our baby is talking like a big girl. Somehow seeing you light up when you talk about them means even more than poetic compliments. The way you talk about them is speaking my love language.
The waiter brings dessert and coffee — decaf, of course. We enjoy the time, but we’re watching the clock, too. You ask if I want to spring for a late movie, but we both know we’d be holding our eyes open by the end of it. We head home, not even noticing the nursery rhymes that stay on auto-play in the car. When we arrive, I realize I left your card by the door, but someone else must have found it because now the cover displays marker scribbles.
We laugh and share the last moments of the day wrapped up in each other, thinking of how this sticky, busy life certainly yields a different type of romance. It may not be leisurely or extravagant, but it is full and rich. I’d choose now over then, any day.