In the spirit of all things romantic and the impending holiday tomorrow, I have been thinking for quite some time about how to make this year's Valentine's Day special for my husband.
I suppose I should be completely honest -- quite some time is a little of an overstatement. I've been thinking for a few days... Okay, so I've been thinking for about 10 minutes now about how to make tomorrow special for him.
I'm having trouble.
We have never been the type couple that holds hands in the grocery store, sits together on the same side of the booth in restaurants, or dresses alike on purpose. In our own way, we've always known how to be romantic -- cooking his favorite foods, bringing me flowers, a phone call in the middle of the day just to say hello. But it seems over our 20 years together that our definition of romance has changed. Should I dare say it's gone?
I remember when we were first married, I was determined that my new husband would not know that I had bodily functions. I didn't even blow my nose in front of him, much less use the bathroom anywhere within earshot. Modesty is one thing -- wanting him to think I was a robot was another.
It's changed. I not only blow my nose in front of him, I often ask for his opinion.
"It's green. Is that a sinus infection?"
When children came along, romance dwindled a little. Nights out to dinner, a movie or just spending time alone were few and far between. The children are older now and we occasionally have nights alone. Our idea of a romantic night is not complaining when the other one goes to bed at 8:30.
He used to ask me bring home a bottle of wine if I were going to the grocery store. This morning, he asked me to bring home some yogurt with "good bacteria" that would help regulate his digestion. I think I'll buy him a mixed berry flavor, just to add a little excitement.
Our romantic gestures may have changed a little, but they're still there. Some of them come out of nowhere.
"What ... are ... you ... doing?" I ask as I walk into the kitchen in the middle of the day and find my other half unloading the dishwasher.
"I just felt like unloading the dishwasher," he says.
I stand there and stare as he pulls glasses from the top rack and places them in the cabinet. Stacks the plates on the counter ... takes a paper towel and carefully, slowly dries off the last bits of water from a bowl. I didn't ask him. He was just ... doing it.
I had never been so attracted to him.
Besides, I have never heard or read of a wife killing her husband while he was doing housework. That's something to think about.
So, for Valentine's Day, instead of chocolate or a nice shirt I'll give him something I know he will really, really appreciate. A box of starter logs and some more good bacteria yogurt. After all, my hubby's digestion is very important to me. Because, trust me, a robot he is not.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.