My husband thinks Valentine’s Day is a made-up waste of money. I tell him it’s a good day to show love.
He replies that he shows love when he brings me perfectly prepared coffee in bed every morning. He replies that he shows love when he builds Legos with Jack or works on a puzzle with Caroline. He replies that he shows love all day, every day, and he doesn’t need a holiday to prove it.
My children think Valentine’s Day rocks. I tell them it’s not, in fact, a major holiday.
They reply that we need to decorate the house. They reply that they hope I will do what I do every year, which is leave a heart-shaped box of chocolates and some other wrapped treats on the breakfast table for each of them. They reply, “Mommy, can we pleeeeease host the Girl Scouts Valentine’s Day party?” They reply that Jack must have Fun Dips to attach to his valentines (easy to buy) and Caroline must have window-pane heart cookies to attach to hers (pain in the ass to make). They reply that we have to go out to dinner and can they have heart-shaped pancakes and oh oh oh chocolate-dipped strawberries for one class party and funky little chocolate/pretzel/m&m treats for another class party and “Mom! You signed up to bring goldfish AND juice boxes, don’t forget” and “Mommy, get the balloons at 10 am and then the cupcakes at 11 am and don’t forget I’m Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and can you videotape it on my iTouch and your camera too?” and can I cut out 100 hearts to help with a project and when I have cheese and crackers for the Girl Scouts can the cheese be heart shaped..and..and...and...
I have to WORK to show love. It’s required by these little people.
Which explains why, as Whit and Caroline were gone all day yesterday skiing, I enlisted Jack to help me get ready for tomorrow. We baked. We dipped. We cut hearts and affixed stickers and sorted Fun Dips. We got a lot done. It took a while.
Last night, he unrolled a looooooong sheet of butcher paper and started drawing. He drew sea creatures and aliens and snails and then wrote in huge bubble letters, “Welcome Home Daddy and Caroline.”
I glanced at him.
“Seriously, Jack? They’ve been gone one day. Not even overnight.”
“Yeah, but I missed them. Staying home with you is boring. We didn’t do anything.”
“Well, kind of, you guys had a lot of requests for Valentine’s Day, and we worked really hard to get things ready.”
“That’s not fun. Being with Daddy is fun.”
“But buddy, I’m doing all this work because I love you and Caroline!”
He snorted indignantly.
“Mommy, love isn’t supposed to take work. You need to relax a little bit.”
I stared at him.
I’m going to die young.
I can just tell.