My Very Real Valentine’s Day began at 6:00 a.m. It started with the sound of an alarm that wakes me up and makes me want to throw up at the same time.
My very real Valentine is the warm spot on the other side of the bed left by the man I still feel a bit angsty toward because of a stupid fight but who’s nonetheless getting dressed for another 12 hour day-his ninth in a row.
It’s the three year old who persistently manages to somehow end up between the two of us by the time that blasted alarm rings.
My very real Valentines are four barely breathing lumps, buried under blankets scattered on the living room floor, one strategically placed over the heater vent, as we read Philippians 1.
My very real Valentine is a Glad plastic container filled with last night’s spaghetti squash, roasted sweet potatoes, and quinoa and onion meatloaf. It’s also five lunchboxes filled with ham and veggie wraps, slices of red pepper, fig bars and a peanut butter cup.
My very real Valentine is the 12 year old determined to dodge my ‘good luck hug’ every morning before school.
It’s the cookie sheets converted into a race track for Calvin and Hobbes and huge pile of unfolded laundry—no wonder LuLu couldn’t find any underwear. And it’s dozens of stickers haphazardly stuck onto a little brother.
My very real Valentine is the pile of home goods stacked up against our bedroom wall, awaiting the fast approaching move-in day. It’s walking into this after I forget to close my door.
It’s the littlest Valentine who just smashed banana onto a clean tablecloth.
It’s also red cheeks snuggled under fluffy feather blankets in the afternoon.
My very real Valentines are four girls who can hardly wait to tell me every single detail from their school day…usually all at once.
It’s a party of eight’s stuffed shells and homemade French bread with berries and tapioca pudding.
It’s the belated Valentines I’m sending to three loved ones who’ll be getting them late because I didn’t get my act together soon enough.
My very realest Valentine and I won’t be giving each other gifts this year because it’s not the time for that. Someday, it will be. But for now, our gift to each other is not spending money on something that’s going make us gain weight we’re both trying to lose anyway.
My very real Valentine is the love of my life who does almost everything I ask him to do even if he’d rather pull each and every one of his eyelashes out, one at a time. He’s the one who pulls over for injured animals, the one who says ‘I’m sorry’ first, the one who’ll plant rosemary for me in the spring, put 96 tampons back in the box and let’s me sleep in while he makes ‘Pancake Saturday’.
My very real Valentine makes me the dreamy farm table I committed to making only to realize the needed skill level was far greater than my own. And sometimes, he snores. But it’s because he’s exhausted. He’s a small business owner and he’s determined to make it successful…which makes the rage of being awakened mid-REM a smidgen less.
So there you have it. For us this year, Valentine’s Day isn’t about candlelight and roses. It’s about realizing I’m lucky to be dancing the dance I dance and recognizing the everyday Valentines.
It’s about being in one of those challenging seasons life brings to all of us but taking a moment to marvel. For me, it’s realizing how unbelievably blessed I am to be alive, to be the wife of the man who loves me the most and to be the mother to these incredible people. It reminds that it shouldn’t take a holiday to remember this.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dear reader. I hope it’s a good day. Not just because it’s Valentine’s, but because I just generally want you to have a good day.
BUT since this day is for lovers, I double dog dare you to kiss someone on the lips.