17 years later: Love is ……

This Moment    +  17 years
This Moment + 17 years…

Public displays of affection are for those incapable of expressing love privately. Without exception my only reaction to having a bouquet of flowers delivered to my office is thinking ‘how will I get that lot home on the bus’ followed by ‘I wonder if it would be inappropriate to just leave them here’.

There was a period of time when my now husband would send me flowers after a fight, not to make up, but just so that I would have to carry them from the bus stop up our 4 flights of stairs. There is nothing quite like floral revenge.

I dread when it rolls around to valentines. After dating my husband for 17 years, a plastic covered rose or a sentimentally challenged card is not my idea of romance. For the first decade it was fine, I treasured cards and presents in a shoe box of memories. But then we moved house for the umpteenth time and I lost the box somewhere on the N3. So now I have 3 real and about 10 replica cards (showing what I think he might have written on the cards, from memory) just in case he ever looks. Or in case I need to prove that what a loving and sentimental wife I am. Although the only time I can think when I would need to prove that would be in a divorce court where some sort of payment was being worked out. So basically I am collecting loving memories from him to me so I can shove them up his ass later. Love isn’t dead, it’s busy collecting Exhibit A for a jury of its peers.

A box of chocolates doesn’t cut it either. This is not wartime Germany. If I want chocolates, I’ll add them to the supermarket shop, and a nice man with a van will deliver them to my door and then leave so I can eat them. No sharing. As Charlie Sheen says you pay the pros to leave.

It’s not that easy in the other direction either. I can’t imagine my husband real wants another aftershave that could melt through metal. Or my other go-to a CD (do they even make them anymore?!).

The last time I offered him :

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

Here is a free album, it’s from U2

He came back with

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

There is nothing as romantic as a day without you (two)

(he isn’t as good at rhyming as I am, but then I’ve got mad skills)

Now, I can see you thinking that we are veering back towards the divorce court here, but let me put this into context: we have a child.

Really if you are a parent it’s all I have to say on the matter for you to get it, but if you are not let me explain. Since our son was born the one commodity neither of us can procure for ourselves is time alone. Like blood, it cannot be borrowed or stolen, it has to be given. If one of us wants to be alone, the other has to agree to mind our son.

These days nobody seems as privileged to me as someone who causally mentions that they rolled out of bed around 12pm on Saturday and went into town for some breakfast and then to a movie. Forget the Porsche driving twats, or rings the size of tumors, the only status envy I have is for people who haven’t noticed that they spent 10 hours alone this week re-watching West Wing.

The other day my mother gave us both the most generous gift that we can receive right now – she offered to take our son overnight. We went out for dinner to a fancy restaurant at night, for the first time in seven months. This simple act we had taken so much for granted when we were just a two, was so precious to us now. We drank, we laughed, we were reminded that we are still very much in love, and on top of that nobody had to do the night feed. For us at the moment this is a gift beyond compare.

So now, as it rolls around to Valentines, and then into my birthday, and my husband inevitably asks ‘Oh love of my life, oh star that lights my sky, what thing can I bestow upon you as evidence of my eternal love and devotion’ (yup, he really talks like this) I have my answer ready: ‘Time, my sweet, a little bit of time’.

About Cathy Clarke

Cathy lives with her husband, offspring and so many animals that her household often feels like a small petting zoo. She is one half of the team behind AHomeMadeByCommittee.com (an Irish Lifestyle blog) where she discusses motherhood, weddings, DIY, GIY, and everything in between. And she is one third of the team behind IrishWritersPodcast.com, a podcast which discusses topics interesting to writers. Follow her on twitter at @CathyCClarke.
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