I remember life pre-kids. Vaguely.
Back before there were little socks and unexplained stains all over the house, there was me and my husband, a young(ish) couple beginning our lives together. I can remember the grand gestures of love from those days. It’s hard to forget him penning and performing a song to me at our wedding or the time he sent flowers to me at work when I was going through a particularly bad time.
Those types of gestures are more or less gone. We’ve been married a decade. We have two school-aged children. I don’t know that there are any new songs in my future. But I don’t even want them. My view of romance has shifted dramatically since we started to build our life together. I don’t need flowers (though they’re lovely!). Romance to me is no longer grand gestures. Today, it’s far more about efforts to make each other’s lives easier that show appreciation and love. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, these days, I way more appreciate an empty dishwasher than a vase filled with flowers.
Now, when my husband makes sure the house is clean when I wake up on my birthday, I swoon. As I watch him empty the dishwasher and tidy up from dinner, my heart beats a little faster.
When my husband calls me randomly in the middle of the day, just to say hi, I feel loved.
When I offer to take the kids out for a few hours on the weekend so he can nap, he appreciates it like I just brought him water in the desert. When we spend hours at the outlet mall trying to find shoes that are affordable, nice and actually fit, he tells me how much he appreciates me.
This is how we show love now. This is how we feel love now. I don’t know if it’s a matter of maturing and realizing flowers die and grand gestures are fleeting, or if it’s that, as life gets hectic, it’s great to do something to show someone you appreciate what they do and make efforts to help make their lives a little bit easier.
I love flowers. I appreciate them. But I’d take my husband micromanaging children to clean the house so I don’t wake up on my birthday to a mess, any day of the week. Yes, my idea of romance has changed significantly since the day we said ‘I do,’ and brought two new lives into this world. I’d like to think we’ve just grown and matured. Really, we’re just so much more tired and appreciate any effort on either of our parts to acknowledge it, mitigate it, and spread the wealth of the stress and labour.
When I think about the days, way back, when practical expressions of romance would have pissed me off, I laugh at myself. Oh honey, you had no clue. Flowers are easy. Emptying the dishwasher? That takes actual effort. I don’t even think he does these things to make me swoon and I think that’s the best part. He’s just pulling his weight, and that is enough to make this gal’s heart skip a beat. I used to be cool. Now romance is chores, not chocolate, and that’s all right by me.