I’ve never been much for Valentine’s Day – at least not as an adult, anyway. But when I was a kid, it was a ton of fun. It was all about jumping onto a porch, dropping a card, ringing the bell and high-tailing it out of there before the door opened.
One year, to aid in our already legendary stealth, my best friend and I donned dark clothes and black stocking caps – our moms drew the line at putting shoe polish on our faces. (And once, my brothers, sister and I even had a gun pulled on us!) After placing a card on the porch and ringing the doorbell a couple of times at the house of the old Serbian couple across the street, we heard the words, “Geeet da gon, George!” – and he did!
See, back then, Valentine’s wasn’t about romance; it was about being a ninja!
So, I guess it’s no surprise that I can’t remember what Kelly and I did last year on Feb. 14 or for that matter on any Valentine’s Day in the past 24 years. Then again, neither can he.
Kelly hasn’t ever been the traditionally romantic type. Yes, we’ll buy each other a little box of chocolates – and he’ll eat both boxes – but I learned long ago he doesn’t go for the sap. The cards I would send with those sweets, in which I had written heartfelt sentiments like, “You are the dream I’ll go on dreaming forever,” and “One lifetime with you will never be enough,” would make all of the women he worked with swoon in envy, but did absolutely nothing for him.
And since kids unfortunately don’t do the ring-and-run thing anymore, and our boys aren’t about to see their parents lavish long-stem roses and imported chocolates on each other, what Valentine’s Day lessons are they going to learn from us?
Well, hopefully, they’ll pick up that every day is an opportunity to tell your loved one that, well, that you love them. You don’t need a Hallmark holiday and forced romance; every day can be Valentine’s Day.
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012 is to be more appreciative of Kelly for all the things he does for me and our kids; to simply recognize everything he does for us. That’s my daily Valentine’s gift to him. And I know he’ll enjoy it much more than he would an expensive dinner in an ambiance-filled restaurant.
As I sat down to write this month’s column, I thought about what he’s done for me just this week alone.
- Sunday – We had dinner at my parents’ house like we do almost every week, and he didn’t complain when I stayed chatting for longer than I know he wanted to be there.
- Monday – He loaded us all into the car and we took the dog to the park.
- Tuesday – He stayed home with the kids while I went to one of my Greek clubs’ monthly dinner meetings (where, incidentally, I was elected president…)
- Wednesday – He took Gus to Cub Scouts.
- Thursday – He did the laundry.
- Friday – He went grocery shopping, and bought me potato chips!
- Saturday – He got up, closed the bedroom door, and let me sleep in.
I know, to most people reading this, nothing on this list says romance. But man, to me, they’re way better than all the Belgian chocolates, long-stemmed red roses and dinners at La Caille in the world.
These seemingly mundane actions tell me every single day that he loves me. And I want to remember to tell him I love him too. These actions show our kids that love doesn’t come in a bouquet of flowers or a box chocolate-covered strawberries. Love comes in the everyday humdrum that is life.
Actually, I think that’s a much better expectation about Valentine’s Day to set for our kids than heart-shaped balloons and silky underwear. Just being grateful for, and acknowledging, the love they receive every day is the best lesson I can teach the boys.
Of course, if Kelly wants to surprise me with a trip to the Caribbean, I could handle that too!
No matter how you observe it, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!