By Susie Cortright
For many women, February 14th is about champagne, dinner reservations, and satin sheets lined with rose petals. For many men, it's mostly about staying out of the doghouse.
No doubt, this is the time of year when I would least want to be male. I think about this each time I hear or read complaints about how, last year, it was the wrong size negligee, or an ugly bouquet, or cheap chocolate, or the fact that one poor soul thought he could get away with just a card.
And I have to wonder how important it really is to any woman that she gets flowers on a Wednesday in mid-February. It brings to mind how much Madison Avenue controls us, from our spending habits to the way we view our relationships.
It's time we rethink our notion of romance. It's not about silk underwear or Godiva chocolate or booking a babysitter for a night on the town. Romance is best realized with the small attentions: Phone calls during the day. Good night kisses that linger into dreams. The effort it takes to listen - really listen - to one another even over rowdy preschoolers.
In that haze that is life before marriage, I recall men who wrote me heartfelt letters, men who showed up in the middle of the street with bouquets of flowers, and one dear man who traipsed with me to the top of a mountain, where he pulled out a bottle of champagne, two unblemished crystal flutes, and a basket of strawberries from his backpack for an afternoon toast.
But it was my husband who has given me the most romantic gifts: My new pen from Wal-Mart, for example. Ty was on a long-underwear buying mission one morning before work when he decided to pick up a little something for me. He knows that I have a weird fascination for new writing instruments, and, to picture him in an aisle brimming with nothing but pens looking for precisely the right one brings tears to my eyes.
Ty is not the type of guy who brings home heart-shaped pendants or shiny red candy boxes. He's not the type who engages in rote kisses or who lets the calendar dictate his romantic encounters, and he's certainly not the type to bring me gifts under duress.
No, my husband is the type of guy who greets his girls each evening with a look that tells us he'd love nothing more than to spend yet another simple evening at home. He's the type who tells me, without a prompt or an elbow, that he loves my giant pregnant body. He's the type who willingly bathes our toddler and wages the nightly "brush your teeth" battle alone so I can curl up under the covers with a book.
In a word, he's romantic.
This Valentine's Day, let us save the roses for our girlfriends (this holiday is mostly for women anyway) and revel in decorating cupcakes with our kids. Meanwhile, let us let our men off the hook. Fill a homemade card with lists of memories you've shared, the reasons he makes your heart race, and a few promises for the year to come.
Let that be your gift to him…and to yourself.
© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
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