Valentine’s Day used to be a big day in my calendar year. If I didn’t have a Valentine, I pined for one. If I had one, the expectations were high. The wheels started turning in my world directly after the New Year, and the time and thought that went into fretting about Feb. 14th was impressive.
Since I’ve been married, however, it’s become nothing more than one of those nuisance holidays that require buying multiple cards for nieces, nephews, grandparents and aunts. I’ve long since told my husband to get me a card and a box of good chocolate (good as in cheap, drug store-sampler quality good), and he’s off the hook (although the glue must be dry on the envelope of the card when he hands it to me). I don’t require elaborate gifts, a fancy restaurant or a flower delivery at work to make my co-workers envious (particularly since I work from home).
This year, however, I’m feeling a little more sentimental. My daughter has been like a walking Valentine these days, and I suddenly have the urge to fill the house with balloons, flowers, candy hearts and stuffed animals. She’s had several breakthroughs and has become even more of a lovebug lately. I fell in love with her the moment she was plucked from my stomach two and a half years ago, but the lovefest has felt more visceral recently.
It helps that she’ll now walk up to me, hug and kiss me and pat me on the back while saying, “I love you, Mommy,” without being prompted. She’s also fallen in love with holidays. Ever since she understood it was her birthday in August, she’s been singing “Happy Birthday” every day. She still talks about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas (even though we’re Jewish). And when we tell her Christmas is over, she says, “Happy New Year!”
I started introducing Valentine’s Day last week and the excitement is becoming palpable. Since to her a gift can literally just be a sticker off a banana, planning a few little treats to express my love has been like Valentine’s Day circa ninth grade all over again, although this time instead of wondering if my love will be requited, I know it will be necessarily returned in spades. What’s not to love about this holiday?
How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids?