This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. There goes a hot date night. Oh well. No biggy.
The truth at our house these days? Valentine’s Day has shifted from hot date nights to fun family time. I chalk this big shift up to when I was full-blown pregnant with my second daughter on Valentine’s Day (a few years ago), and I had to suck it up to physically get myself dressed up for a hot date night… ridiculous. I love hot date nights, but for the past few years, Valentine’s Day hasn’t seemed like the right time to do it. (I can’t explain… I know how odd this is.)
Am I cool with my kick-back attitude? Sure. Blame my children… but I’m good with celebrating Love Day as a family. We’ve started doing our own family Valentine’s Day traditions, to value the moments together while our little ladies are so young. I love to decorate our kitchen and do a fancy (early) dinner or breakfast.
And even though I usually pick up something fun and pink as gifts for my little girls (a tutu, a headband or a magic wand with a heart on the end of it or something)…I truly don’t expect a gift from my husband.
I mean, last year my husband picked up some beautiful roses from the market… and wrote my ‘card’ on a sticky note stuck to the vase. I loved it. I thought it was sweet. I may’ve cried a little bit.
Would the pre-baby me be annoyed right now? Absolutely. But that’s what’s happened to me as I’ve grown into motherhood. Moments means more, gifts mean less. Including flowers on Valentine’s Day. (If you tell this to the 20-something me, who once flipped out and overanalyzed if there was a symbolic meaning for getting pink flowers on Valentine’s Day as opposed to red roses, she might slap you.)
I’m happy with moments. I’m happy with family. I’m happy with five-word generic phrases written on sticky notes and stuck to a vase. (Seriously… I really was happy when he did this last year. Not being sarcastic.)
But recently, I’ve come to my senses. No gifts? No problem. No written words in long, romantic form to say “I love you” or anything along those lines? Hmm. This might be slippery slope. One thing my husband always did when we were dating and first married was write me cards. Nothing incredibly cheesy or overblown, just nice, thoughtful and honest words – in his handwriting! – that always made me feel amazing no matter what he opted to write. And then somewhere between child #2 and toddler potty training and our older daughter starting TK (real school!) this past year… the written cards disappeared.
We’ve settled into life. We’re happy and comfortable where we are. We’re overextended and sometimes forget to get to the store for a Valentine’s Day card. We’re tired. We forget we got married because we were so in love (because we’re tired and overextended). A slippery slope, I think…
So, in an effort to resurrect some kind of romantic tradition, I requested that I receive a written card for my recent birthday (in handwriting, with thoughtful and honest words about whatever he happened to be thinking, just like he used to do years ago).
I got a card. I opened it. I read his handwritten words. I cried. I felt more fulfilled than I’ve felt in a long time. Aha.
Forget the gifts. Forget the fancy dinner at the restaurant that charges you triple because it’s Valentine’s Day weekend. Forget the chocolates and wish-lists for some bracelet you saw at the mall (ok, DON’T forget the chocolates… that was rash… my apologies). This Valentine’s Day, no matter what traditions you might be celebrating as a family, request that your spouse write you a sweet handwritten note (more than one line) in a card. It’s the gift you won’t know you needed so much until you get it. Trust me, I know.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids?