Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

"Love has no strings or duct tape attached"

"Love is a duct-tape purse.

Ok, maybe that doesn't sound as appealing on this Valentine's eve as the more traditional analogies.

And way back when I was in the courting/newlywed stages ofmy relationship with my husband. I would have been appalled at that statement.

No, I'd have protested, love is romantic music, roses, chocolate, wine!

But now, if I had a time machine and could visit my 20-something self, I'd say: Look, honey. If you're lucky, eventually you'll understand. ...Love IS a duct-tape purse.

How so?

Well, over the years my husband and I have come to a few understandings about romantic holidays. Sweetest Day we ignore. Valentine's Day we say we'll skip, then give each other a mushy card or a flower anyway. Anniversaries we always celebrate.

But two years ago, my husband surprised me with a most unique Valentine's gift: a duct-tape purse! Filled with chocolates. And presented with a heart-warming song.

He knew how much I love purses, so when we ran across a magazine article about duct-tape purses, he knew what he had to do: spend 4 hours crafting mine. He knew I'd like the classy stripes, the roominess, the nifty handle. And he knew I'd laugh raucously--enjoying the humor in it. Which I did.

Knowing what your partner will find funny and delightful...that's why love is a duct-tape purse.

A few nights later, I wore the purse with a royal-blue dres to the opera. My husband was stunned. "You're really going to take the purse?" he asked. But I could tell he was really pleased. And I carried it proudly. I have to admit, when someone would stare at me and my purse, I enjoyed gazing back with an expression that said, "What?"

A few weeks ago, our 12-year-old noticed the duct-tape purse on a shelf. "Mon," she said, "Daddy worked really hard on that! And you haven't carried it in a long time."

It was true, and I felt a little sad. I also realized my husband had never whined or complained, "Hey, I worked hard on that duct-tape purse! Why don't you carry it"?" The choice to wear or not wear was entirely up to me--no nagging.

Which is also why love is a duct-tape purse. No strings--or duct tape-- attached.

But Tuesday don't be surprised if you see me carrying my duct-tape purse. It seems like a good Valentine's Day tradition.

After all, I like chocolate, wine, roses and romance as much as any woman.

But I like even better being at a place in life and my marriage where I understand that love is a duct-tape purse."
Sharon Short
Dayton Daily News
Monday February 13, 2006