There are times when it is worth going through the motions. If you ask me, a great many of those times occur in a marriage or similar significant relationship.
Years ago, when my husband and I were newly engaged, Valentine’s Day came about. It felt like the holiday was invented just for us. Fortunately, as we were living a long distance situation back then, my husband was visiting me in New York. I was working, so he went strolling along 5th Avenue and passed FAO Schwartz, the famous American toy store.
In retrospect, I’m not at all surprised he couldn’t resist going in. In all my experience with men before and since, whatever the age – they just love the toys. They never really outgrow them, they only add to the collection. And yes, while it’s true that the difference between men and boys is the size of their toys, most women appreciate the fact. We need all the help we can get when it comes to what is often a difficult distinction.
This particular Valentine’s Day my husband did just fine in the big toy department (at least for something non-motorized.) He left Schwartz’ carrying a gia-normous teddy bear – a member of the grizzly family, I believe. It weighed an astounding amount for an animal that is all stuffing and no bone. And he, my husband, I mean, carried this bear about 45 blocks down Fifth Avenue, as not surprisingly, he couldn’t get a taxi to stop for him and such a cuddly, but obese-ly fat bear.
It really was a lovely romantic gesture. And being somewhat crazy in the initial phase of love, we took Mr. Grizzly along with us to a wonderful restaurant and decided then and there that no matter what we would always go out to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Since then, we’ve gone out to countless dinners, for Valentine’s Days, other holidays and for absolutely no reason at all. (Well, perhaps that’s not strictly true, being that I’m not much of one in the kitchen, there’s always a reason to go out, food being not least among them.) But besides the point that we love to eat, we love the chance to talk.
It does get more difficult to make the time. The boys now ask “you’re going out again?’ (We figure it will only be a couple more years till they are jumping up and down with delight, so we should take advantage of family togetherness while we can.) But it makes it harder to carve out time just for the two of us.
And the other night, it was an effort. I had forgotten to make reservations on arguably the biggest date night of the year, so we ended up in a restaurant that was decent but not great. And quite honestly even if we had booked the Louis XV, it wouldn’t have done much for us. We were both exhausted. But because we had made that pact 18 years before, we went out to celebrate. And of course, after a glass of wine and a little food to revive us, we had an absolutely wonderful time.
We still have Mr. Grizzly. He’s dumpier than before, seems even fatter as he lost his shape over the years - too many boys climbing over him and treating him like a bean chair. And my husband is starting to ask when are we going to get rid of that ridiculous bear, but it’s not happening any time soon. I still love my bear.
Sometimes you just have to go through the motions.