Monday, February 18, 2008

Alas for celebrations

Yes, I'm procrastinating about writing tonight. I'm hot and uncomfortable and tired and just can't seem to rev up the engine enough to tackle the three reviews I need to write tonight. It happens sometimes. I'm find once I get going, but getting going is difficult without the right kind of juice. No juice tonight.

Or maybe I'm still a little too relaxed from yesterday's veg out with books and movie and more books. I started and finished three books yesterday and they weren't little books either, but healthy and thick books. I napped and answered the phone (for a change) to thank all my family and friends who called to wish me happy birthday (yes, that was yesterday, too), enjoyed a catered dinner and flowers, and opened a few gifts from local friends. I didn't get dressed all day, just lounged around reading and relaxing, dozing and enjoying the day, knowing I'd have to get back to the real world today because hospitals don't close for holidays. That's okay, I have a vacation day coming next Monday and I intend to make full use of it.

Thinking about my birthday yesterday I was reminded of a conversation I had with my Uncle Bob a few weeks ago when he told me he didn't remember his wife's birthday or their anniversary and Aunt Lois didn't seem to mind. That put me in mind of the usual hullabaloo about Valentine's Day and the premium placed on gifts of love that seem more like emotional arm twisting for giver and receiver. Don't get me wrong. I like Valentine's Day and enjoyed the big red heart filled with candy an admirer left on my doorstep on Thursday. It was a lovely thought, but I wonder if romance can be confined to a single day or if a single day should be used as pressure in a relationship to perform romantic duties. Romance has so many faces and facets that we tend to forget it isn't all about flowers and candy and jewelry and gifts. It's about respect and loving someone enough to let them know in small ways every day. That's romance.

My Uncle Bob isn't big on cards and gifts, but he does appreciate them when they come his way. Instead, his idea of romance is taking care of his family and making sure they're safe and secure. He takes care of the cars and the houses and makes sure there's enough of whatever is needed, including antifreeze in the radiator and air in the tires. It may not seem like romance, but it is very romantic. Romance isn't -- or it shouldn't be -- all about gifts unless the gifts are from the heart. Having a day for romance is cheating in a way because it lets people off the hook the other 364-365 days of the year. They can point to February and say they did their duty. But did they really?

Fixing dinner and making (or buying) a special dessert out of the blue or taking out the trash to save your weary spouse a few steps; that's romantic. Romance doesn't need to be a big production. Sometimes it can be as simple as doing the dishes or drawing a bath, rubbing someone's weary feet or massaging a few kinks out of their neck and shoulders without being asked. It's the little things that count, the things you might not find in a romance novel or on Valentine's Day -- or maybe you will. That's the thing about romance, it can pop up at the most unusual and unexpected times, like a catered dinner and a vase full of fresh tulips or a heart full of candy left on the doorstep. Birthdays come once a year, but romance happens every day a little bit at a time.

That is all. Disperse.

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