In the early years of dating and marriage, romance was alot like you see on tv....flowers and chocolate, candlelight, getting dressed up for a night on the town, the exchange of special gifts, and "ooey-gooeyness". Valentine's Day was soooo self-centered...even if the self was a pair of people.
I remember an early Valentine's Day in our marriage...I was in the 1st trimester of pregnancy with our first daughter, and very sick in bed. Even though my sweet husband had been waiting on me hand and foot (he even gave me a bell to ring if I needed anything), I began to get more and more depressed as I thought about being stuck in bed with this baby, and was crushed that my husband hadn't even done anything for me for the special day. After stewing about it all day in bed, I finally burst out in tears, "I can't believe you didn't even remember me for Valentine's Day today!!"
He looked curiously at me, and gently said, "Sweetie, Valentine's Day is tomorrow".
Babies came, and life happened....and romance changed. No longer were flowers and chocolates a way I felt loved. I would look at a bouquet of flowers and think about how many jars of peanut butter or jugs of laundry detergent could be purchased with that money! Instead, I fell in love with a man who would bathe the children at bedtime, make the kids' lunches before school, and wash the dishes every morning before leaving for work. Valentine's Day?! I have some of the sweetest cards - - hand-drawn by my hubbie, often with silly attempts at poetry on the inside. And Valentine's Day became a day with a simple gesture and a squeeze as we continued to do life and try to hold things together.
We are reaching another season of our lives now, when are children are growing up right before our very eyes and we no longer have to look down to see them. Todd and I are both grayer and more wrinkley. Life is still busy, and I still feel "heart-bursts" for my husband when he cleans the kitchen for me. But I think we're also beginning to realize that time is passing quickly. You spend years going to ball games and rehearsals and driving to sleepovers and working jobs, and just getting by, not celebrating each other because we're pouring everything into the family....and in an instant, 20 years has passed!
During this season of life, I'm not going to poo-poo Valentine's Day or discourage my husband from buying me a present. I'm gonna shave my legs and make a nice dinner and dance with my kids and my man in the kitchen. And I'm going to be amazed as I look back over the years and celebrate the fact that we've made it this long! And if my husband wants to buy me something, I'm going to accept it graciously. And I'm going to make sure that my children and our college students understand that marriage isn't just a roommate contract or a partnership agreement...it's exciting and passionate and romantic...and sometimes, like today when I'm home with a puking kid, it's the pits. Sure, we should celebrate marriage more than once a year....but Valentine's Day is a start.