From Blogfather, John Scalzi.
Weekend Assignment #151: Is Valentine's Day a genuinely romantic day? Or just a big commercial money pit into which romantic people fall? Go on, share how you really feel about the day -- whether you enjoy it, or feel like it's forced on you by greeting card companies, or fall somewhere in between those two poles.
Extra credit: Suggest a nice romantic movie.
Extra Credit first for me... I suggest 'Moonstruck'. It is a wonderful movie about all kinds of love and has a wonderfully quirky happy ending, just like the family and characters in the movie.
Now for Valentine's Day...
Yeah, okay. I agree, it is a commercial money pit and also a genuinely romantic day. Yes, both. And, neither, because, ultimately, it is what you and your significant other/kids/family make of the day.
Bottom line, any day that celebrates LOVE is a good day in my book.
Hubby and I will go out to dinner this weekend alone to a really cool fondue restaurant. On Valentine's Day we will probably order in dinner, something the kids choose. We will then give goodies to the kids, get cards from them, and give goodies and cards to the grand-parental units. A nice, sweet, loving day to be had by all.
Hubby may or may not surprise me with a box of dark chocolate Godiva and roses. It usually depends on budget, and either way is fine with me! He spoils me year round when he can! And, as everyone knows there are lots of ways to be spoiled other than receiving gifts. And, many those are better!
I do have a funny and sentimental Valentine's story to share.
In 1998, Valentine's followed Pumpkin's birthday by one week as always, except this was her first birthday, and we just had a big party to celebrate and we were broke. The fact that her first birthday was a mere 6 weeks after the first Christmas with three kids didn't help either!
Hubby made a suggestion. He and I should make homemade gifts for each other, spending no more than $10 on supplies.
Great! I was totally game! I love doing crafty things, and at this point with three kids aged 5, 3 and 1, I was rarely getting any time to do so! Plus, I was so excited that Hubby came up with this idea! He isn't usually a 'homemade' gift type of person.
So, the day arrives. That night, after the kids were in bed, it was time to exchange the gifts! I opened first, as Hubby always insists, and found two lovely glass candle holders that Hubby had decorated all over the outside with sparkly red heart stickers! He was obviously quite smirky and proud of himself (I was really into candles at the time), and I was impressed, too!
Then, he opened mine. As he looked at it, his face just fell. All the smirky happiness was totally gone. I was starting to freak out and blurted, 'What's the matter, don't you like it?'
Hubby looked up with tears in his eyes and he said, 'I love it. It is the most wonderful gift, outside of my children and you, that I have ever received.' I was confused, but then he stammered, 'And, I will never, ever do something like this with you again, I stuck some stupid stickers on candle holders, and you did this, this, this perfect gift!'
I realized hefelt outdone, began to laugh with relief, and reassured him that he did do a wonderful job, and it was just that I had more time to think about, and to execute this sort of gift than he did.
So, what was the gift?
The only thing I bought was an 8x10 picture frame with a six picture mat inside. Since Pumpkin had just turned one, I decided to immortalize all of their babyhood by finding 3 pictures, one of each kid, in a favorite outfit. An outfit that they wore a lot, and we would identify with that child. I then searched through all the baby clothing (which I still had all saved in case we decided to go for #4), and found the items of clothing. I then cut a swatch from each, and put it in the mat below the picture of the corresponding child in the outfit.
For Hammer it was his medium blue polo shirt that he loved. For Fuzzy it was his favorite velour sleeper that we had in 2 sizes that he wore from age 4 months until over a year. It was red, blue and green and had a dinosaur embroidered on it. For Pumpkin it was a romper in yellow with tiny pink roses, matching hat, and socks that she wore for her first Easter. It was too big, so she wore it for most of her first summer, too.
I made the gift for Hubby to keep at the office to feel closer to us while he was there, and to help us hang on to the precious baby years that fly by too fast. He still has it at work with him, even now.
And, we have never gone the homemade route since. He won't do it! Party pooper.
Happy Valentine's Day to my J-Land family!