It was the summer of 2011. We were at Laurier Park, on a dirt path beside the river. Walking on either side of me, her arm linked in mine, was a young woman, waiting for an answer.
The question? One asked all too often when you're the only married woman in a group of singles who are praying desperately to fall in love:
What's the most romantic thing your husband has ever done for you?
I remember racking my brain, trying to come up with an answer they would deem "acceptable". Nathan is many things, but "romantic" has never been one of them - at least not in the traditional sense!
"He wrote me a song," I finally said. "He sang it to me when I walked down the aisle at our wedding."
It must have been the right answer, because they oohed and awwed and gushed about it and I congratulated myself for my quick thinking.
But now, three years after that conversation and six years into our marriage - I'm not so sure I would give the same answer to their question.
I might tell them about the time Nathan took six months of riding lessons to keep my horse in shape when I couldn't ride. Or how he strapped a stuffed toy into the carseat and carried it in and out of the car for two weeks before Topher was born to "practice remembering the baby". Or the time he pulled over on the side of a busy highway to pray for a dead coyote and his family because I was a crazy hormonal pregnant woman. Or how he made sure my pad-sicle supply was always fully stocked in the days after childbirth. For that matter, the fact that he stands unashamed in the checkout line at the grocery store whenever I send him to buy feminine products! I might tell them about the time he caught Topher's puke in his hands while we were on an airplane or the time he slept on the couch with me and Chloe (the dog he "tolerates lovingly") when she was sick. Maybe I would tell them that he deals with boogers when our kids need assistance (because that's just disgusting!) or that he's watched all seven seasons of the Gilmores with me, not once but twice. He gets up with the kids on Sundays so I can sleep in, and he tells me I'm beautiful when I feel anything but. I might tell them how he works hard at a stressful job to provide for our family, and how he is always supportive of my writing, even though there are other things I could do with my time that would earn more money. He makes me laugh when I'm about to cry and he loves me when I feel unloveable.
Nathan did write me a song, and he did sing it to me when I walked down the aisle at our wedding, but my definition of romance has changed. It's not about the grand gestures, it's about the little things Nathan does every day that show me he loves me.
Tomorrow marks six years of marriage for Nathan and me. Six years of choosing to love each other through the highs and lows, the good times and the bad.
Here's to at least sixty more!