Today being Valentine’s Day, my Facebook feed this morning was full of pictures of hearts and flowers accompanied by soppy messages. But a post by fellow writer, Judy, made me smile, as she got right to the heart of the matter as usual. She inspired me to set my own pen to paper.
Like many an old tradition, this day for lovers has been hijacked by crass commerciality of the worst kind, which just makes me cringe. To be brutally honest, most of the things we’re supposed to do today, leave me cold. As I have been with the same man for 25 years, at times a long and very difficult journey, this is what I think love is really about…
Is it about a card with a badly worded message? No, it’s having a husband who works a 12-hour day in London without complaint to support his family.
Maybe it’s an overpriced bunch of roses? You’re wrong, it’s reading Harry Potter to your son every night for two years as he loves the books so much.
Is it an expensive watch, carefully chosen from the local jewellers? Not at all. It’s walking the dogs in the pouring rain without argument because someone has to do it.
Perhaps love is expressed by a beautiful pearl necklace? Not really, far better to have someone who’ll put the washing in without you asking and do a big supermarket shop.
How about a meal out at the latest place to be seen? Not for me. I’d far rather be brought a cup of tea in the morning from someone who knows that I’m the “mummy monster” without it.
Surely, a weekend away counts for something? It’s a kind thought but a truer test of love is not telling your wife how much danger she and their son are in as she struggles to give birth to him.
Oh come on! Doesn’t your favourite bottle of wine mean anything? It’ll taste pleasant but living with someone who knows from my expression or tone of voice exactly how I’m feeling and soothes me with a kind word or a gentle caress is worth infinite bottles of plonk.
Love is being there through the good times and the bad, facing the unexpected together and not letting one another down. It’s knowing that most of the time family life is mundane and repetitive, as well as stressful and relentless and not walking away because you’ve tired of it. It’s about committing to one person, even though some of their habits drive you crazy because you know they’ll always be there for you.
My husband is actually in Barcelona on business today, while I keep the kids entertained in grey, drizzly Wales but neither of us minds at all. When I arrive home in a few days, after a very long drive, he’ll come out and unpack the car, order us all pizza and help me put the children to bed. It’s exactly what I need him to do. No more no less.
Happy Valentine’s Day!