Slaying Dust Bunnies: An Act Of Love

February 11, 2018

Gloria Joynt-Lang

February is not only one of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language: it is also a month bustling with activity and anticipation. For starters, almost three thousand athletes from over ninety nations will compete in the Winter Olympics this February; including a women’s bobsled team from Nigeria, a first for an African country. Journalists will gather in PyeongChang, South Korea to tell the personal stories of various competitors. Stories that will not only entertain us, but will also motivate, and inspire us.

And it’s not only athletes that people will cheer for this month. Spectators will also get an opportunity to root for their favorite furry rodent, Punxsutawney Phil. Will he or won’t he see his shadow? Will there be an early spring? Who needs thermometers, barometers, and anemometers, when you can trust the instincts of an adorable ground hog? Of course, it’s silly, but it’s fun.

And although people will look forward for these events, it’s the occasion in the middle of the month which tends to bring mixed emotions and anxieties. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate love, while jammed into an overcrowded restaurant with poor service. And even if you decide a limited menu at jacked-up prices are not for you, you’re still likely to end up purchasing a ten-dollar greeting card, an enormous box of chocolates, or a bundle of roses that will soon wilt away. You can’t help it, and even if you did, your loved one would be disappointed if the day went unnoticed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love romance. I write happily ever afters and my favorite genre is romance. And frankly if my husband didn’t do anything traditional for Valentine’s day, I’d be hurt. I love chocolate, perhaps more than I should. And a beautiful bouquet of flowers is guaranteed to put a smile on my face. But what makes my feminine heart flutter isn’t something that comes from the store, it’s the acts of love that don’t cost.

To me a relationship isn’t about the big dramatic gestures. It’s about the smaller acts of kindness and love; like my husband bringing me coffee in the morning. It’s cooking an entire turkey dinner for my family one dreadful Christmas, because I was too overcome with grief from my father’s death to pitch in and help. It’s taking care of me when I’m suffering from a cold. Admittedly, this might wade into the territory of grand gesture as I’m a horrible sick person. At the slightest of sniffles, I transform into a dangerous hybrid of unreasonable toddler and grizzly bear. I’m demanding, whiny, and irrational. But my amazing guy looks past my crankiness and gives me that beautiful smile, the kind that tells me that he would do anything to make me happy. And back when I was foolishly young and drank more apple martinis than a wise woman should, he took care of me as I slumped over the porcelain throne. When morning came, he made sure I had copious amounts of bottled water to hydrate my self-abused body, while keeping mum on all the embarrassing things I said and did. Beat that roses and chocolates!

Over the years, I’ve received many gifts from my guy. I’ve loved all his gestures, well maybe not that frumpy floral dress in two sizes too big. A lesson he learned when he bought me something frilly, and a size too small, the following year. But it was never about the gifts. I knew long before he bought me anything that he was a keeper. We were friends, not even dating, when he first rescued me. It wasn’t anything dramatic, like climbing a mountain to free me from a crevice or smacking down a rabid raccoon ready to attack. It was much more subtle, but in my world still a harrowing experience. My vacuum had broken, leaving me surrounded by large dust bunnies. Okay, maybe not that harrowing, but I’m a bit of neat freak. Anyway, he swept in, not only generously providing me with a Kirby vacuum, but he also showed me how to use it. Yes, of course I knew how to use a vacuum. I was a twenty-four-year-old college educated woman who could change the oil on her car, but I couldn’t help but pretend to be clueless. After all, a man performing household chores is damn sexy. Sure, he was smart enough to know what I was up to, but he was also nice enough not to call me on it.

So, this Valentine’s day if you find yourself unable to afford a grand gesture, or expensive gift, don’t fret. Just do what you can afford and appreciate the person you love in small ways throughout the year.

What loving gesture do you recall that widened your smile more than chocolate or roses?

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