Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It’s supposed to be this big romantic holiday, but it’s not a big deal to me. I’ve been married a long time, and I’ve known my husband since 1989, so I’ve had a lot of romance in my life. Just not exactly what Hallmark and the floral industry thinks of as romance.
For me, the least romantic thing in the world is get the exact same thing as every other woman in America. Red roses are beautiful. But it’s not that special when they are sold on every street corner, in front of every grocery store, or can be ordered online for more than the cost of a nice dinner. And don’t get me started on a card that costs more than an eBook. I like chocolate. But I’d rather have a king size dark chocolate bar I earn from writing group for writing “The End” instead of mediocre chocolates in a heart shaped box that could kill my youngest child since they may contain peanuts or tree nuts.
As a Romance writer I should love all things Romance, right?
Yes, and no.
I love Romance. And my husband has given me plenty over the years. But not like everyone else’s.
Our first date was to the grocery store. I know, sounds too good to be true. Actually, we were friends and went out a few times, but his roommate often tagged along. We went to a Doobie Brothers concert, the Reno Air Races, skeet shooting. All fun dates, but the first time we went out, alone, just the two of us, it was to Albertsons. I had class, so I left my diet Coke in his room at the fraternity house. When I came back that night to pick it up, we had our first kiss.
Our first movie date was to see a movie he wasn’t sure I’d like. He now knows better, since Field of Dreams is my all time favorite movie. He also took me to see The Little Mermaid when it first came out in the theaters. We took our kids to see UP and we both cried at the opening sequence. And he will watch Bull Durham with me over and over and over because sometimes you just gotta go with what works. We tried to watch 9 1/2 Weeks and he understands why I found it more insulting than sexy.
Before we got engaged, he bought me the most romantic gift of all. He bought me a life jacket so he could take me rafting any time. He was a whitewater guide, even featured in a magazine once. I had that life jacket for 25 years until he bought me a new one last year. That is romantic since it tells me he wants me to be a part of his life and he wants to protect me.
Last weekend he drove me to San Francisco to go the Giants Fan Fest. He knows I’m crazy about baseball. Anyone who sees my Twitter feed or Facebook page knows that, but he also knows that baseball has been a part of us for as long as we’ve been together. He used to take me to games at Candlestick when we were still dating. Then we would celebrate out anniversary by catching a game and spending the night in the city. There were a few years we couldn’t make it because we were at our kids’ Little League games.
So instead of fancy jewelry, he bought me this bracelet.
He also bought me a vase to put the roses I got for writing my fist two novels.
But the coolest gift he gave me has to be the “game used” batting helmet worn by Javier Lopez. My husband knows I have a little crush on the left-handed relief pitcher. Okay, so he is one of the inspirations of Marco Santiago’s character. And my husband was so excited when he saw the helmet. He knew I’d love it. One because, Javier Lopez. And two, because he’s a relief pitcher and hasn’t had an official at bat since 2011.
I could go on and on about all the little things he does that I find romantic, like making me coffee or packing my lunch or encouraging me to get back to my Jazzercise class, but the important thing is that he knows me better than Hallmark or Madison Avenue. He knows I’d rather go to a ballgame than a B&B. I’d rather go for a beer than pedicure. And he’s more than willing to help me with my research. You know, like taking me to the ballpark so I can smell the grass.