Today, Mama Kat asked for a love story. So here is mine.
Nine years ago yesterday, he asked. And I said yes.
When my husband and I announced our engagement, there was drama. After all, I was only 22. And he was 30. And we’d known each other less than a year. We got a tidal wave of emotions from our family and friends, not all of it positive.
But I knew it was right. And I’m assuming he did too, or he wouldn’t have asked. I’d known it was right from the night I met him, when we covered past relationships, future goals, religion, family, and everything in between during our very first conversation. We laid all the expectations for the rest of our life right out there and, well, they matched.
“I met The One last night,” I told my friend on the phone the next day. She sighed, clearly exasperated.
“Oh, Allyson,” she said. “Are you sure? Of course you’re not sure.”
I was sure.
We did everything “wrong”: we moved in together too fast, joined bank accounts too fast, got engaged too fast. But if how we did it was wrong, then I don’t want to be right–because almost ten years from the day we met, we’re still going strong. Us and our adorable, rambunctious, curly-haired 4-year-old.
And so on the anniversary of our engagement, I want to talk about romance.
Here is what I’ve learned about romance: true romance is realistic. Don’t get me wrong, flowers are great. And so is sparkly jewelry. And I’m a sucker for handwritten notes. Those things are the icing on the proverbial cupcake of marriage. But the real stuff–the stuff that makes it all come together–is realizing that romance isn’t just what you give. It’s what you do and how you act, every day.
This is real romance: my husband working 10, 12 or 14 hour days so I can stay home with our son…and then coming home to us at the end of the day to give our kid Super Dada kisses and tuck him into bed.
Real romance is doing things he would never do in a million years if I wasn’t in his life, like going to half a dozen Hanson concerts with me.
Romance is knowing that when I’ve had a bad day the best cure is a warm blanket and reruns of Samantha Brown’s Great Hotels featuring Disney resorts.
Romance is being the one to meet me outside the hospital on a deceptively beautiful May afternoon, looking me in the eye and telling me my father was gone.
Romance is buying my Christmas present early and then not being able to wait until Christmas to give it to me.
Romance is being there: holding my hand when our son came into the world. Cheering me on at the end of my first race. Cheering me on at the end of every race. Catching my eye from the back of the church as I stood to give my uncle’s eulogy because he knows public speaking terrifies me. Bringing his PS3 into the bedroom to play because he knows I sleep better when he’s close by. It’s being himself, and letting me love him for him–and doing the same for me.
We don’t try and change each other, and we don’t play by anyone else’s rules. What works for us, works for us. Some people don’t get the way we function, and that’s okay.
Because at the end of the day, I still can’t wait to see him when he comes home. And I still get a little flutter in my chest when I see his name pop up on my cell phone.
And that’s romantic.