I am a romantic. There, I said it. I have been trying for the last decade to let the world know that I am not a romantic. Maybe in high school I was, but not anymore. I love roasting my husband and never dwelling on how wonderful he is (I know, I know, I need to give him much more credit than I do). I hate romance movies, unless the girl gives the guy hell before actually starting to like him. Make the guy work for it, girl. Not a big fan of flowers or candlelit dinners. Not the kind of girl who is like, “Aaawww, did you see that display of affection? How cute.” Korean romance dramas drive me crazy. Really? You think normal guys do that when a girl breaks up with him? If a real guy we knew acted like that when a girl broke up with him, we would probably lose a TON of respect for him. Anyways, I am a romantic. I admit it.
According to Google, romance is defined as a sense of “excitement and mystery associated with love” and “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” Maybe I am not romantic in the typical way, but I am so romantic when it comes to everyday life. Perhaps Elinor Glyn said it best, “Romance is the glamor which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” When my daughter wakes up from her nap and I hear her feet pitter patter across the hardwood floor to the kitchen where I am washing dishes and her sweet, groggy voice say, “Umma?” I stop washing dishes and I just scoop her up in my arms and give her hugs and kisses. Everyday. I love it. When I give my thirteen-month-old son his security blanket and he immediately begins to suck his left ring finger and buries his face in my shoulder with his blanket, I love it. I embrace it. I know that one day, both of my children will grow up and leave me. These moments of affection are numbered. My poor husband, who is extremely affectionate, feels so left out that I love my kids’ cuddles and yet don’t give him enough. (I give him plenty, but he’s an only child, so his need for love and attention is a bottomless pit. I gotta set boundaries somewhere.)
Everyday life can really get to you. It’s boring, mundane, and drives you crazy because it never stops. Life never stops. But if you can add that “golden haze” to it, it’s pretty exciting. My daughter gets so excited whenever she sees a bus. Every time we pass a bus she has to excitedly point it out and her excitement over something so small brings out the romantic side of her. My son doesn’t often cry very loudly in his crib. But if he hears the garbage truck coming down our street, he will scream like he just got his vaccination shots. He just has to see that garbage truck go past our house.
Perhaps we were all born with this sense of wonder, this “golden haze” around our lives. When does it go away? Perhaps we are so inundated with a very superficial picture of romance that we forget to be romantic in the little moments of the day. Instead, we think that if our lives aren’t filled with some elaborate display of affection and love, we must be living very ordinary lives. When we look at Facebook or Instagram or other social media it often seems that some are trying really hard to show off a false reality or a false romance, when in reality, they are so unhappy.
When I talk to moms we often vent about how hard our lives are, how our husbands just don’t understand and still expect 100% of our attention, how our kids consume our lives, how we just wish we could take a break, etc. I absolutely love venting, but I have to admit, the reality of being a mom is great for me. I do wish I could take a 3-4 hour break once a week every week, but overall I love it. I don’t get stressed out that I don’t get to go out because I love being at home. I rarely schedule anything in my week except for a couple errands and a trip to library time. My Facebook and Instagram accounts are not filled with adventurous days. I rarely do anything that I feel is worth the time of my friends and followers on social media. The reason why I love my life is because I have very few appointments. Kids and babies cry, that’s what they are supposed to do. This is life. Embrace it. Find the romance in the little things.
Another way I know I am a romantic is the way I respond to words. I am so easily inspired. Reading self-help books and inspirational Christian books does something amazing to me. It is incredibly energizing.
Meditating and embracing the little moments I have with my kids and family, being present is so romantic. Seeing how I can make my life, my everyday life, into a day to just be, that is how I tap into my romantic side.
Being romantic is much more than setting a certain type of mood for your spouse or loved one. It’s so much more than the flowers, chocolates, jewelry or other tangible gift. Being romantic is much more than setting aside time on Valentine’s Day, or a birthday, or Christmas in the snow. It’s about presence. It’s about letting those small feet and hands touch your heart everyday. It’s about exchanging that knowing glance when the child you created together does something irresistibly cute. It’s about holding hands when lying in bed together.
Being romantic is also knowing that you can rely on each other when the checkbook has a negative balance. It’s about not turning on someone you love when your day isn’t going the way you’d like it to. It’s about serving your family in a way that shows that you celebrate each life in the home.
And although sometimes it’s easier to be romantic on paper than it is in real life, especially because life doesn’t come with background music, I am going to continue to be romantic. Okay now, let me come to terms with the idea that I actually am a romantic.