I read this week that an average of €44 is spent on flowers and €129 on jewellery by partners making these purchases for Valentines Day. As I never receive either on Valentines day I could feel very upset by that statistic.
However it is very carefully phrased so what is actually means is that ‘of’ the people who buy flowers and jewellery for Valentines Day, that is what is spent. Let’s be honest – the reality is that not very many partners do actually buy that stuff. The flowers maybe, but not the jewellery, and that average is skewed by a good few engagement rings being bought, with the vast majority of jewellery bought by our other halves being a candy necklace, just to tick the box.
After the free Daniel O’Donnell CD and the ‘accidental’ romantic location for his marriage proposal, I have long since given up on the idea of Hallmark romance from my beloved Mick and am accepting and to be honest, very appreciative of the true romance he shows me every day.
This week I was floored with a chest infection, a stiff neck and shoulder and a unmerciful case of drama queen-itis. I love my bed at the best of times, but when I am sick it is a an absolute necessity rather than a luxury and as my life is so filled with appointments at the moment, the idea of finding time to go to the doctor to get an anti-biotic is just not an option. So bed-rest and fluids are the only options for healing.
Twice this week, Mick got up extra early (he already gets up earlier than me to make the kids lunches), to let out the animals and take Patrick to school, so that I could stay in bed and try to get better. To me, that is true romance.
I wrote recently about what love for your child can look like, especially if circumstances of your parenting are ATypical, and in reality love for anyone in your life is not something that fits into a template.
Today, Mick and I celebrate 17 years since we get together, Mick normally used to head home to Dublin on weekends, but as we’d been flirting (talking about St Bridgit’s Crosses and snakes via email – I kid you not) for the previous few weeks, he had decided to stay around in Leitrim in the hope that I would be out on Valentine’s night. I was, hoping he would be too and early into the hours of the next morning, out first kiss materialised – finally!
After 6 months of my friends listening to me procrastinate about, will I or won’t I be a modern woman and ask him out, they had been just about to give up and declare me a lost cause. Mick had of course been oblivious to my subtle advances and flirting, thinking I really did have 40 questions about how my expenses should be calculated as I hung around his desk in the Finance Department with yet another a query.
Even the one night in the history of his career when he worked late, catching me sneaking around at his desk looking for a photo of a girlfriend, wife, child didn’t direct him to the fact that I might me ‘interested’ in calculating more than my per diem.
But anyways, in the then smoke filled haven of romance that was Cartown, before the underage disco market took hold, we shared a kiss, and the rest is history. So began a beautiful romance, a match made in heaven – ok cut the crap!! I don’t do any of that bollox.
So today, we are 17 years together and 15 years married in September. I’m still waiting for the flowers, I pick my own jewellery and he only ever says I love you too, in response to my initiating the exchange of lovey doveyness.
Years ago at work one lady received a massive bouquet of flowers from her fiance, her red roses were actually sparkly. I have to be honest to feeling a little pang of envy at her glistening blooms.
But I have realised over time, in an relationship that you make your own sparkle, a sparkle that won’t die along with the roses. Much like being a parent, loving your child isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, loving your partner isn’t all flowers and jewellery, not after the first year anyway.
My heart still skips a beat when I hear Mick’s car pull up at the end of the day, ok it is usually because it means I can go and hide somewhere with my phone for 15 minutes of peace from our darling children, but it still is because we are a partnership, a functioning team.
Many marriages that have a child with special needs breakdown. The pressure of dealing with difficulties you face, the disagreements that ensue about truly serious decisions that will have far reaching effects for your child, your family and the simple fact that when you sit down in the evening you are so emotionally and physically exhausted even having a conversation is hard work, undoubtedly puts a strain on your relationship.
You barely recognise yourself anymore let alone your relationship. I am not going to deny the fact there have been times it is clear to both us of that our relationship s buckling under the additional pressure that we face, but we are fortunate that we can sometimes scream and shout at other and be truly honest about where we are at and strong enough in ourselves to know the changes we each need to make, knowing that we love each other enough to make those changes. I’ll take that over a bunch of lillies.
So don’t be disappointed if the love of your life didn’t shower you with gifts yesterday, I got my favourite Aldi chocolate bar, like I do every Friday and my chest infection is much better thanks to the TLC Mick gave me. He also gave me the all the space I needed to deal with my ‘stay at home Mum’ meltdown this week when it all became just a little too much, and that is why I will live without the jewellery, because I have a gem in my husband.