Monday, February 21, 2011
So it’s the week after Valentine’s Day. How’d you make out? Did you get that special someone something special? Did they give something special to you?

What did I get for the big red hearted day?

Nothing. Not a thing and I prefer it that way. I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Now before you wrest romance writer secret decoder ring from my fingers, let me explain.

Yes, I was the girl least likely to get a stuffed animal clutching a box of chocolates. Yes, I was the girl who made sure everyone in the class got a Valentine’s Day card only to find myself clutching one or two. And they were never from that cute boy I had a crush on.

Boo hoo! Cry me a river, right? Let go for Pete’s sake that was over *cough* *cough* years ago! MOVE ON!

Trust me I have. When I met my husband in college, I met my soul mate. The ying to my yang or vice versa. I had my first real Valentine’s Day with him. He took me to dinner. He held my arm and placed himself closest to the road as we walked to the restaurant. He brought me a silk rose in an acrylic vase. He ran his knuckles along my cheek as we sat down to order. He gave me stuffed raccoons that magnetically clung to one another. He leaned in and lovingly whispered my name like no one else ever had before (or since).  It was truly a magical night at the diner.

And then it struck me. Take away being taken out to dinner (sure it was a diner but we were freshmen in college). Take away the silk rose. Take away the stuffed raccoons. What was I left with? Gifts he gave me so many years ago and continues to gift me with today. Holding my hand. Protecting me from harm. Sweet little touches. And he still has a way of saying my name that makes me shiver and sigh even after all these years.

That’s what real romance is all about. Love expressed in the most beautiful ways possible everyday and not just once a year. All the cards, chocolates, jewelry and other gifts don’t really add up to a thing unless there’s romance behind it. It’s one of my deepest inspirations and what continues to drive my stories.

How do you define real romance? What makes you sigh with delight? What sends shivers down your spine?