Aww. Valentine's Day.
Decadent candies and sweet notes scribbled onto Hallmark cards.
I like it.
I don't mind profiting from it. (I have a collection of empty candy boxes from years past.) But let's get real, authentic love can't be packaged and sold.
We want to see hot actors make out with No Strings Attached.
No one wants to watch Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in An Argument About Running Errands.
The stuff that comes after, the real thing, the day-in-day-out decision to be there and commit to the dance, well, that's too complicated to sell.
Real love is when your lonely life gets all tangled up with somebody else's, when I blurs into we and two souls attempt to write a love story with no specific plotline.
It is a reality show without all the editing. Raw. Emotionally charged at times. But to the outside world, a little boring
I knew I loved my husband when we laughed at the same joke and no one else thought it was funny. When I begrudgingly cleaned the moldy goo out of his toothbrush cup.
When I bought him an Xbox 360 for Christmas, knowing full well he would ignore me for days on end to play it.
I knew he loved me too when he saw me sick (the gross, sweaty kind of sick) and stayed. When I was crying (the lip-quivering, makeup-running kind of crying) and still he stayed.
When he stood by me without trying to rescue me.
When he started calling our pets by the nicknames I gave them.
Yes, real love is getting a dog. It is a dozen forgotten kisses goodbye and hello. The eye rolling. The hand holding. The love taps. Car trips and comfortable silences. Sharing a box of fried chicken on the couch.
The moments when you are apart and it feels like something is missing. The moments when you try to find the you in the we.
Real love is in the details. The hitting of an alarm clock. The washing of a dish. Those rare conversations when the other person says all the right things. And the days when you wish he would just shut up.
It's "Yeah, you're great but you can also be annoying, and why didn't you do any laundry today?"
It's trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. Spending too much money and feeling guilty.
Wishing you'd done this or that. Knowing there's so much to say but feeling too tired to actually say it.
It's saying it and falling deeper.
It's recognizing that you are not perfect. Love is not perfect. And the person who gave you his heart is going to crack yours every now and then.
But there's something about my husband's smile. There's something about the way he handles a situation, and how he just stands there across the room, looking that way he did the day when we first met.
I know I was right to let him stumble off the pedestal I built for him and try for something real.
We have passion.
We have laughter.
We don't really need Valentine's Day.
Still, I save the cards and devour the chocolates. I celebrate because once upon a time someone picked a date on the calendar and declared it a day for love.
So what if Cupid makes a buck off selling a fairy tale and if the movie studios play off our daydreams?
There's nothing wrong with romanticism, as long as you realize real love stories don't end at the beginning. Real love stories keep going on.