Gone are the Valentine’s Days of fancy dinners and expensive gifts. The high heels are replaced with crocs designed lovingly by your child—sprinkled with this morning’s waffles and syrup.
The mini-dress doesn’t quite fit over your thighs anymore, so that your child lovingly giggles when they sneak into your room as you quickly throw on clothes for the day.
Your husband shoots you a text asking if you want him to make dinner reservations tonight to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and you look around. Kids run up and down the hall, something flies past your face and the dog whimpers to go outside (probably to escape the children).
It’s not as easy to pick up and go out, especially on one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. The thought of waiting hours for food, cramming your body into spanx, and even trying to find a last-minute sitter, all seem too overwhelming and exhausting.
“Let’s just have a quiet night in with the kids. We’ll go out next year.”
The dresses and heels for the evening are now tattered pajamas, as you all cram on the couch watching a movie—rated G, of course.
Crème Bruelle is replaced with fruit snacks and buttered popcorn, as the kids fight over who gets to hold the bowl.
Your husband nonchalantly grabs your hand between the kids, and mouths, “I love you,” as little giggles and “gross” fill the air.
Next year quickly becomes the year after that…and that…, and soon Valentine’s Day becomes just another day. Another day on the couch. Another day holding hands between kids.
Until it doesn’t.
Until the kids grow up and make plans, and you and your husband breathe a sigh of relief at this newfound freedom. At the endless possibilities of fun, restaurants, movies, and activities.
“Want me to make reservations for Valentine’s Day?”
You glance around the quiet house. No footsteps. No toys flying across the room. No more sitter worries or responsibilities beyond what you’re going to make yourself for breakfast. You can pick up and go, do whatever you want.
“Let’s stay in.”
The couch is much emptier with just the two of you this year. The movie selection more robust without little ones to have to worry about, but something is missing in the newfound freedom.
The little giggles.
The jitterbugs who can’t sit still.
But some things remain the same.
Your husband still reaches for your hand.
He still whispers, “I love you,” even after all these years. And even though tonight is supposed to be a grandiose celebration of love and romance, you remember the love felt within these walls every day.
And that means more than any fancy dinner reservations or expensive gifts.
It may seem like too much some days, but there will come a time when sitting on the couch, crammed in and watching reruns of the same movie, will be nostalgic. So always hold hands, say, “I love you.” Value your spouse not just on Valentine’s Day, but every single day. No fancy dinner or diamond earrings can take the place of time spent together, and of a family’s love.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Today and every day.