Ideal/Real

So fiancé Steve and I are still knee-deep in cardboard boxes and all the paper, packing tape, and perpetual angst that come with moving.

As I was packing my less-than-organized study, I discovered the two Dove wrappers pictured above. Some months ago, on a colder and quieter night, Steve and I sat across the table from one another as we each unwrapped our dark chocolate desserts and discovered these two strangely connected sentiments. At the time they called up our romantic on-the-beach engagement and other strolls we’ve taken hand-in-hand on the sand.

As I read them today, and consider them now in the context of the second photograph—the loads of blankets, quilts, and catbeds that had to be schlepped to the laundromat in order to corral them all for the move—I heard different echoes. Watching a sunset followed by a sunrise together may suggest a long and lingering night of romance. But it’s also what happens when you commit to marrying someone, to living with them, to going to bed together each night after the sun falls over the mountains, rising in the morning as the light streams through the window and you take turns in the bathroom and feed the dog and cats and decide whose turn it is to take out the trash or drop off the dry-cleaning.

Such day-to-day ordinary moments are both less romantic than the “ideal,” and infinitely more so. After all, most of us spend far more moments in the presence of our beloved doing laundry, walking the dog, and unloading the dishwasher than we do taking in sunrises or sunsets in dramatic and pre-determined “romantic” locales. I want to know that my love will survive, even thrive, not just in the beautiful spaces, but through stacks of boxes and backloads of laundry.

That’s reality, and on all those ordinary day-to-days, it’s more than enough for me.

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