romance in the little things.

Ahhhh, Valentine's Day. Our church has graciously offered childcare tonight so we're heading to Chipotle sans toddler. Nothing says romance like side-by-side burrito bowls, amiright?

(To be fair, we have fancy dinner reservations tomorrow night. I'm going to shave my legs tomorrow.)

I've been thinking about romance this week, and how my definition of that word has changed over the years. When I was 21 and freshly married and mostly naive about life, romance meant Big Things---candles, flowers, fancy cocktails, fancy food, shiny presents. I had high expectations about everything under the sun and wanted to feel special all of the time, but especially on Valentine's Day.

Today, at 27, romance looks a little different in our house. We are raising a toddler, and we are tired. Sometimes romance looks like eating ice cream cones on the couch and watching three episodes of Breaking Bad while one of us falls half asleep. Sometimes I light candles while we do that to distract myself from the eighteen toy cars strewn all around us.

Make no mistake: we still have romance. It's just in the little things now.

There's romance in the way he always puts gas in my car, or says "go write" when he knows that's what I need. There's romance in the way he proofreads my blog posts and tells me that I'm the best writer he knows.

There's romance in the way he puts his arm around me during church, and in the way he looks at me when I'm all dressed up. There's romance in the way he compliments my not-that-great cooking, and in the way he picks up Chipotle on the nights I can't even fathom making dinner.

There's romance in the way he pulls our car around to the front of the church when it's raining, and in the way he always lets me have the umbrella. There's romance in the way he offers to watch an extra toddler so my friend and I can go to barre class together when her husband is out of town.

There's romance in the way he leaves notes on the kitchen chalkboard, and in the way he never takes the last of the milk. There's romance in the way he always gives me the good seat on the couch, the one with the best view of the TV. There's romance in the way he says "I love you" the morning after a big fight, and in the way he kisses my forehead before he leaves for work.

There's romance in the way he cares for Everett while I'm in Africa or at a writing conference, assuring me over and over again that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

There's romance in his support, in his encouragement, in the way he wraps his arms around me while I'm standing at the kitchen counter. There's romance in the million little things he does for me, in the million little ways he cares for me, in the million little things that I don't have time to mention here. There is romance in our house every morning when we wake up and choose to stay married to one another, for better and for worse.

And today, I guess I am simply grateful for that. I am grateful for romance in the little things, and grateful to be married to a man who spends 365 days a year loving me as best he can.

That's really all I can ask for on Valentine's Day.

Well, that and burrito bowls.