There is a day approaching that will disappoint many of us. We will have high expectations that are quickly dashed on the rocks of reality. Valentine's Day.
This is the day we are told should be filled with love and romance and romantic gestures and gifts. According to my very quick Google search, Americans spend over $18 billion dollars on Valentine's Day each year. An average of $130 per person.
Valentine's is big business. Hallmark tells us that we need to send cards, because we care. I was doing my final grocery shopping for Christmas on December 23 and the store was already clearing out Christmas inventory to bring in Valentine's merchandise. Because we are inundated with it wherever we go, we begin to think this is the way it needs to be.
I'll admit, I used to think so. It was really important to me. I remember one Valentine's Day particularly, I think it was the first one of our marriage. I'm pretty sure I made it clear that I expected some kind of Valentine's surprise. My husband had taken responsibility for planning something. We had zero disposable income at the time. Just before marrying Jeremy two months before, I had finished a two year job working in South Korea and I was craving Asian food. Fiercely. But we didn't have money to go out to buy any, so I just did without.
I came home from Bible study on Valentine's night to find that Jeremy had set up a restaurant in our tiny kitchen in our wee little flat. He served me an Asian-inspired meal on a table with candles. I'm pretty sure I cried. Was the food great? Not really (Side note: He's a great cook, but he was working with what we had on hand and you can only do so much with limited ingredients.) Was the company great? The best.
Our life has changed a lot since then. We have five kids. We live in America. We've been married 14 years. Valentine's Day no longer has the same importance to me. I've learned that I'd much rather have a husband that shows romance throughout the year instead of on command one day a year.
And romance isn't chocolate and flowers. Romance is changing a dirty diaper. Romance is teaching a child to tie their shoes. Romance is a gentle neck rub as I finish making dinner after a long day. Romance is gently disciplining one of our kids. Romance is putting away my shoes for the umpteenth time that I leave scattered all over the house. Romance is being willing to do whatever work is available in order to provide for his family
I would much rather receive those little acts of romance throughout the year than just a big box of chocolates once a year and apathy on all the other days.
Before you get disappointed because, once again, Valentine’s Day passed without a grand display of affection, remember all those little things. They add up to really big things.
I have cooperated today with some lovely bloggers to share our Valentine's posts with all our readers. Would love if you'd click over to their blogs! You won't be disappointed!
Candace at His Mercy Is New has some great ideas for making simple Valentine's cards with leftover paper from Project Life packs or you can use scraps of scrapbooking paper, which is what I plan to do! I love when other bloggers have great ideas I can copy with my kids! :)
Julie at Nurturing Learning has written a great post on learning a bit about Matisse and instructions on making a Valentine's card inspired by his art. This is also on my list!
Pam at Everyday Snapshots wrote 14 Not-Just-For-Preschool Valentine's Activities, which is great for all kids, not just your littles. She also has a super series called 14 ways in 14 Days, all about different ways to show your kids you love them.