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Life’s romance can be found in day-to-day mundane

Valentine’s Day is here, and my husband and I do usually nothing about it. We have an understanding between us that being bothered by this holiday is a drag. He can’t buy me books anymore, and I can’t buy him tools so … C’est La Vie. And this is not about being married for 32 years at all. This was the reigning philosophy when we were only married for five years.
I think there was a year during the child-rearing phase when I felt sorry for myself and raised some sort of stink when he didn’t arrive with some chocolate. This was a mean trick to play on him, as he had no clue that I needed sustenance of that sort. I was playing those silly marriage games where women want their husbands to think of them but they can’t tell them that because then the men won’t be the ones thinking of it and so on and so on. You do that when you are young and haven’t figured anything out yet.
There should be a neon light in the kitchen that a woman switches on when she is feeling taken for granted and needs a gift, for Lord’s sake! Men need that kind of unadulterated message as so often they are just head down, slogging through the workplace jungle and their wives blindside them with an attack from nowhere. That is from their point of view, of course.
Romance is not an issue in my marriage. It never was. We picked out our wedding rings on our lunch hour, and I bought a $20 band because I knew I would lose it. I think I had it for a year and then left it on a nice grand piano in a IU practice room just exactly as I had visualized would happen. The only other nice ring I have owned was a beautiful cameo that was dropped off the bridge at Blue River one summer, but that is a whole ‘nother story. My wedding dress was on sale at Stewart’s downtown Louisville location and was also about $20. I am not a person who watches every penny or anything like that. I just was not ‘into’ that aspect of marriage, and I am still like that today.
My piano students often remark with an indignant tone, ‘Where is your wedding ring?’ I reply, of course, that I never really wanted one. They look at me like they are viewing an alien and I shrug and say, ‘I know, well, I lose rings, and you know … ‘ Uh, no, they don’t know.
I have never believed in the fairy-tale romance for the world of reality. Of course, I love the fantasy of books and movies and all the pink, fluffy stuff that goes with love in fiction. Give me a movie theatre with a good romantic comedy and I am there with a hidden Big Mac in my purse, but let’s not make the mistake of confusing all that with our get-up-in-the-morning life with its bad breath, mussed hair and groggy mumbling.
The romance of life is found in the fact that our husbands and wives are still there in the evening of that messy morning, cooking spaghetti, walking the dogs, turning on ‘Jeopardy!’ and getting settled in for a nice couple of hours. Valentine’s Day should celebrate the mundane, the laundry, the bill paying, the petty details, the diapers, the homework, piano practice and breathing that it takes to maintain a connection between two people. Probably there should be and is, hopefully for a lot of us, 365 Valentine’s days per year.

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