This is real stuff. Hope you don't mind me sharing it with you.
*Read the comment from Lillian for another reminder of why really loving each other is so important.
Yellow ranunculus make me think about when I fell in love.
They were the first flowers Aaron ever brought me.
He was romantic from the very beginning.
He planned us picnics, surprised me with things like a train trip to visit the San Juan Mission and wrote me lots and lots of love letters.
He knew how to woo me.
We've been together now for almost 17 years.
Married for almost 13.
He still brings me flowers and writes me love letters.
Mostly I plan our dates, but sometimes he surprises me still.
But truthfully, the way romance looks in our relationship has changed.
And I think it's better now.
Because it is real.
Having a baby changes things.
It forces you to reveal your true self to your husband in a way you may never have before.
You get fat.
You get stretch marks.
You cry a lot and eat ice cream in bed.
You aren't the girl he fell in love with, always wanting to hold hands and snuggle on the couch.
The 2 of you can't even fit on the couch together anymore.
I wrote this story about one of my favorite memories of Aaron loving me, shortly after James, our first, was born.
I was a weeping, tired, and distraught new mommy.
And Aaron did something far more romantic for me than bring home flowers.
He met me where I was and loved me. (go read it)
Real love is patient.
Real love is kind.
After William, our second, was born, I was in the hospital recovering from a c-section.
Aaron stayed with me the whole time and got to be a part of it all.
Even the parts that I never thought I'd let him be a part of.
After a c-section, you have to have a bowel movement before you can go home.
It's a big deal.
I know, so romantic.
So, there I was, having my big moment, and Aaron was practically in the bathroom with me.
There was no hiding what was going on.
"Way to go babe!" he cheered for me from the adjoining room.
"How embarrassing," I thought.
Later on, I had to ask him to come in the bathroom and change my pad because I couldn't bend over.
Really. Really embarrassing.
Actually, I was mortified.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't need to be.
Because it was real.
Real life and real love is not always pretty.
It is caring for one another even when it's gross, ugly or you really don't want to.
Real love is not self seeking.
Real love is holding your wife in the shower while the tears course down her cheeks and the blood courses down her legs, and you are losing your baby.
It is loving your husband even when you hate him.
Real love is hanging on, saying "I'm sorry", saying "I forgive you" and meaning it.
Real love perseveres.
The other night, Aaron scrubbed the tub.
I didn't ask him to. He just did it.
He knows how hard it is for me to get in there now and really give it a good scrub. I have a pretty huge belly in the way.
Tonight he is going to paint my toe nails.
Maybe not to you.
But to me, right now, it could not be more romantic.
I think about couples who have been married for 40 or 50 years.
I think of the good and bad they have experienced together.
I think of the ugly times and the beautiful times.
I see them together at the store sometimes, walking slowly, helping each other get the shopping done.
I saw them in my grandparents. My grandma cared for my grandpa so lovingly when he could hardly hear anymore, or get out much. She helped him to the bathroom and made him the meals he loved to eat. She did it every day because she loved him.
I see these couples and their wrinkles, their walkers and the way the things that used to matter don't matter so much anymore.
I am just beginning to really learn what that kind of love is.
And it is my greatest hope that someday Aaron and I will be walking slowly through the grocery store together, still holding hands and still in love.
This kind of real love has been freely given to me, so that I can freely give it to others.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
1 John 4:10
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Show someone you really love them today.
* For more on real love, and more of our story, go here.