The media has ruined romance for most of us. Because of romance books, love stories on the big screen, and glorified heroes rescuing fair heroines, most of us grow up with the wrong impression of what love is or what kind of love to expect. This is the 21st century and in real life, how many international movie stars fall in love with nobodies who manage bookstores in Notting Hill? Where are the dashing kings who willingly abdicate their throne to marry the women they love? How many of us have recently run into a prince who would slay a dragon to win the hand of a fair maiden? And honestly, has anyone recently heard of a fairy godmother who grants wishes and happily ever afters?
I don’t mean to be cynical, after all the magic of falling in love and being in love still happens each and every day. But I’m also being a bit more realistic. Love and romance isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. I, too, grew up with dreams of a guy sweeping me off my feet. Falling madly in love with a man who would give me the stars and the moon and everything my heart desired. A guy who would watch me in my sleep, draw my portrait from memory, write me poetry, and sing me love songs. Growing up, my girlfriends and I have giggled over debonair, successful, worldly, elegant, brilliant and perfect Prince Charmings who would have eyes only for us and whose world would revolve around making us happy.
But the realist in me says “wake up!”. True love like that would be boring. Diamond rings and bouquets of flowers lose their meaning. Love songs and poetry get trite. We need to look out for the little things that have the most meaning because they come from the heart. It’s easy to say you love someone – but having to show it on days where you are sad, stressed, overworked, homesick, exhausted and down is when it really counts. Romance should not only happen in big sporadic events – but in the day to day, little moments when no one is watching and when it is least anticipated.
I am lucky I am married to such a guy. He shows “romance” in the most unexpected and unconventional ways. He’s not big on major public displays of affection and on grandiose schemes contrived to woo me. But in many little ways his displays of affection are sweet, consistent and heartfelt. No, I didn’t get the moon and the stars for Xmas, but I did get a gorgeous pair of aquamarine earrings (that were on my wish list!). No, he does not watch me in my sleep, but he does call me every day at noon, on the dot, to make sure I’m doing ok at work. No, I don’t get my portrait drawn from memory, but I do have toothpaste on my toothbrush waiting for me every morning. No, I don’t get poems dedicated just for me, but I do get the last piece of pizza whenever we share a pie. No, he does not serenade me with songs composed just for me but he does burn CDs filled with my favorite sappy songs (even though his taste in music is very different). And, no, I don’t get everything my heart desires, but I do have someone who makes me laugh whenever I am down.
And in the long run, it’s the little every day things that matter. I’ll gladly take aquamarines over the moon and the stars. I’ll take that last piece of pizza over a poem just for me. I’ll take a CD filled with my favorite songs over a single song composed in my honor, especially if it means waking up next to someone who makes me smile.