My husband, Joe, is not an obvious romantic. The last time
he bought flowers for someone, the recipient was heading six feet
under. During Pre-Cana (required Catholic marriage class), the
instructor asked us to write a love letter to our future
Here is Joe's note:
I like you a
Do you like
I recognized right away that life with my husband was not
going to be filled with declarations of love or long-stemmed roses.
When I became pregnant, I was very self-conscious. To his enormous
credit (and despite my 50-pound weight gain), Joe managed to make
me feel desirable. Afterward, when my body resembled an
aeronautical map, my husband again salvaged my fragile
It wasn't because he wrote poetry. There were no
heart-shaped boxes. He didn't send me to a spa or attempt to
romance me with fine wine.
But he did charge my cellphone every night.
He also took out the garbage before leaving for
And he would get up early on many cold Chicago mornings to
scrape ice and snow off my car.
When I was a single girl, I had very lofty expectations of
married life. There were visions of sonnets and cozy nights by the
fireplace sipping chardonnay. A bearskin rug may have been
involved. I think Vivaldi played in the background.
The soundtrack of our marriage is less Vivaldi and more
Randy Newman. We don't own a fireplace. And that bearskin rug? It's
a marker-stained couch with holes.
Whenever Joe and I try to snuggle for just a few minutes,
we are immediately accosted by three little boys who somehow manage
to wedge themselves onboard.
It is hard for the world to see past my gruff, burly
fireman husband and appreciate who he really is. They never
witnessed the night he spent hours tending to our sick, screaming
infant. Joe had just come off a 24-hour shift and I was completely
beside myself with exhaustion and frustration. My husband cooled
our fevered son in the bath, monitored his temperature throughout
the evening, and cradled him in his strong arms until
In all my life, it is the most romantic thing I have ever
No, most people don't look at my husband and think Rudolph
Valentino. Thankfully, the girl who once believed that a piece of
jewelry or a trip to the theater somehow represented true love has
evaporated. It now takes a lot more than a love note to make me
It takes a charged cellphone, a de-iced minivan, and a
husband who never ever forgets to pick up a gallon of milk on his
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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