I used to regularly pout on major romantic holidays. And I don't mean sexy little pout, I mean you're a big baby pout. I'd find myself subconsciously digesting all the messaging out there about what love was supposed to look like and always, always, coming up short. And it wasn't Adam's fault. He presented the flowers, jewelry, trips, decadent meals, you name it, it was given. But let's face it, romance can be hard. Our expectations get distorted and it's never truer than on Valentine's Day.
We are bombarded by messages, ideas, tips (No-Fail Gift Ideas), and over the top plans to profess our love. We're supposed to wow. To excite. And don't get me wrong, I am all for it. But if the diamond package, complete with real diamonds, helicopter transport, and $20,000 price tag, aren't for you, let me tell you a simple, fail proof way to show your love. It will make any of the traditional gifts you might give that much more meaningful too.
It's a simple gift: 24 hours with you.
Now these are no ordinary 24 hours. We are busy people, with jobs, kids, deadlines, multiple phones ringing, text messages, and emails flying. In any single day I try to accomplish hundreds of different communications and tasks.
This is no ordinary day and this is no ordinary you.
You are trying to get a lot done in your day to day life. You're full of passion, purpose, and a to do list a mile long. You have people in your life that mean the world to you that sometimes want your attention when you need to be doing something else. Our big dreams don't create themselves, they require lots of action. But our husbands, wives, and children make those actions meaningful. Ordinary you is juggling carpool, meetings, phone calls, cars that need tune-ups, groceries that need buying and cooking, laundry, pets, bosses that want it now, and snacks for your kids soccer team. I could add more but I feel a panic attack coming on. Which is why I want to give and get this fail proof gift.
24 hours with you.
I'm talking about 24 hours without phones, without work, without kids, without twitter, facebook, email, cell phones, land lines, or surfing of any kind that doesn't involve actual water. And no housework or yard work either. If it has the potentail of taking you away from your loved one, in body or spirit, add it to the list of what you're not going to do.
It's that simple. And hard. I know how hard it is because each week I do this with my family. From 12:00 pm on Saturday to 12:00 pm on Sunday, we disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other. I'm amazed at how resistent I can be to this way of being. At 11:45 on Sunday I start staring at the dishes that have piled up and my hands are itching to do something. But the rewards have been worth the discomfort. I feel a change in my family and I felt it on the first day. My daughter has a new sense of her meaning in our family. When I say no to playdates or activities I can see her chest puff up with pride, she is important enough to set aside this time for just us. And my husband? He's happy too. We both feel a profound sense of commitment and meaning by the decision to spend 24 hours together, focused on connection.
So what are you going to do during that 24 hours? Here are some ideas:
- Get a massage.
- Take a bath together.
- Read out loud to each other from your favorite book of poetry or the Funny Times.
- Go for a long meandering walk together, the kind you might have taken before obligations made your walks exercise squeezed between meetings and appointments.
- Choose a recipe not found in "Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less" and spend the day in the kitchen creating a feast (but only if this feels like play and not work).
- Have a long drawn out brunch where you read the paper, do the crossword puzzle, and have a mimosa.
- Pack a picnic and head into the wild.
I'm not saying you need to do this every week (although it would be awesome if you could) but give it a try on a special day with someone special. Without fail, if you are present and committed to giving 24 hours of your precious time to a loved one, they will feel very, very loved. And that is the gift that we are all yearning for.
P.S. It would be completely silly of me not to mention how easy this is to do on Orcas Island!