I remember the first Valentine’s Day my husband and I spent as man and wife. It was a day for all things love and romance, and I was determined to pull out all the stops. Unbeknownst to him, I arranged for a limo to pick him up from work. Earlier that day, I dropped off some beverages and appetizers with a coworker and made sure they knew when and where to have my husband for his romantic surprise departure.
After the limo picked him up, the driver had instructions to come and get me, and then off we were whisked away to one of our favorite sushi restaurants for an unforgettable mushy evening. And of course, I included a sappy letter letting him know how grateful I was we had said our “I dos.” Oh — and let’s not forget the gifts. There were some gifts, too. It was just like when we were dating — only better. Because now we were official.
Fast forward three years. It was our first Valentines Day as mom and dad. We had a 22-day-little infant who was everything we had ever dreamed of, plus colic. We hadn’t dreamed of that. Needless to say, we were beyond sleep deprived as our evenings were spent awake with a crying baby walking back and forth down the hall as fast as we could – the only thing that would soothe her. I honestly don’t remember much of that Valentine’s Day — other than the fact that it wasn’t much. I think we made some cards. And said “I love you” and agreed that the best gift we could give each other was rotating sleep shifts. Ok — now you sleep. Ok — now you sleep. And so on and so forth.
Fast forward two more years. Our sweet little girl was two years old and I was about to give birth to our second child. All was right with the world and we were beyond happy. I was both literally and figuratively about to burst. We had some good friends in our neighborhood with a little girl who was a year older than our daughter. They had become the very best of adorable friends. That Valentine’s Day was the first of many spent in their company. We ordered heart shaped pizzas and decorated the table with fun little trinkets for our daughters to enjoy. My friend and I both had photo mugs made for our husbands. This was the only gift my husband received that year – a mug with a photo of my daughter holding an I Love You sign proudly covering the sides. Well, that and some cute little cards my daughter and I made for him.
Fast forward to present day. Eleven years and three kids later. How do we celebrate Valentine’s Day now?
Well. We don’t, really. Yikes. I just said that.
Don’t get me wrong, much like the Valentine’s Day when our oldest was two years little – we still do things for the kids. They are all in school now and look forward to picking out cards and candy to deliver to their friends and neighbors. They make cards for my husband and I. And on Valentine’s morning, when they awake, there is some type of small present waiting for them on the kitchen island. And sometimes, if our schedule permits, we may go out to a restaurant in the evening for dinner as a family.
As for my husband and I, Valentine’s Day is no different than any other — except for the fact that we send Happy Valentine’s Day gifs and Bitmojis and that kind of thing. Are we Valentine’s Grinches? No. We just decided a few years ago that the gifts were no longer necessary. We have four children and live on a single income, and some things just don’t fit in the budget anymore. Limo rides, expensive meals and lavish gifts for multiple holidays just don’t make the cut.
And let’s not forget the kids’ schedules. Just because it’s Valentine’s Day – that doesn’t mean that practices and games stop.
We do believe it is important for the kids to see us making our relationship a priority. And we do believe it is important for them to see us having date nights and loving each other well. And we do those things throughout the year – just not always on Valentine’s Day. And I am totally okay with that. And he is, too. And that is what matters.
Each couple needs to decide what their special Valentine’s Day is going to look like. One thing I have learned, is just like everything else — ours changes based on the season of life we are in.
Years from now, when they are grown, we may be back to limo rides and fancy dinners. Maybe even an exotic trip to somewhere warm and tropical? A girl can dream . . .
But for now, it’s more about the kids and practicality. And I love it. I love our Valentine’s tradition of leaving the kids a little something special. Dropping each other little notes and gifs throughout the day. And snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie after a long day of — well, you know — just a long day of life with kids.
Our Valentine’s Day has changed over the years. And I am sure it will continue to change.
It is simple. It is ours. And I love it.
There is nothing fancy about it.
But Christmas? Now that’s an entirely different story . . .