It’s Valentine’s Day. Just thought I’d tell you all that in case you missed all the pink and red hearts everywhere. After calling my Valentine a jerk in my last post, I suppose I have some making up to do. But here’s what I will not do:

1. I will not … wait in line for an hour and a half just to get a table in one of Fayetteville’s restaurants for dinner tonight. One Valentine’s Day I planned ahead and got tickets for us to see a musical and planned an early dinner beforehand. I even called around a few days in advance to see about reservations but none of the restaurants I called accepted them. We started trying to get a table at 5:30, which is so ridiculously early it shouldn’t have been a problem, ….but Valentine’s Day is always on the 14th, which practically makes it pay day in a military town. Which, as any of you who live in a military town know, means every restaurant will be slammed, holiday or not. The musical started at 8 and at 7:15, after going to six different restaurants, all of which had a 45 minute or longer wait, we ended up in this charming little Italian bistro called Fazoli’s (that’s sarcasm, folks) … and we weren’t the only overdressed people there.

This year we’re going to take the kids to gymnastics class and then come home to something I’ve thrown together in the crockpot.  I’m not quite sure what that will be yet. This year romance means not having to sit elbow-to-elbow with a packed house full of strangers who are all trying to look romantic.

2. I will not … spend a bunch of money on a present for him. In the decade we’ve been together I have bought him only one present that he actually liked and, to tell the truth, I sort of dumb-lucked into that one.  I’ve actually started a pretty decent side business selling all the other (unused) gifts I’ve given him over the years on eBay and Craigslist. Many of them still have the tags. Likewise, he’s not so great at picking out stuff for me, either. A few years back he was on TDY and called to say he found some lingerie in a store that he thought I’d love and was shipping it to me. This is not something he normally does, so I was shocked — but not as shocked as I was when I opened the box and and discovered that the “lingerie” was made by Patagonia, the sports bra (’cause that’s what it was) was too small and the panties were “anti-microbial.” And we all know nothing says romance like “you can wear these panties for four days in the wilderness without showering and not get a yeast infection,” right girls?

This year we’re not doing gifts, flowers or candy —  though he did pick me a flowering sprig of vinka from the flower bed by the front door on his way to work this morning.

3. I will not … expect grand gestures. This has been my downfall in the past, I admit it. All the evil consumer forces conspire to make us think that everyone does Valentine’s Day in a big way and if our own experience is anything less than grand then we’ve been done wrong by our inconsiderate sweetie. And perhaps this is true for those who are 22 years old and single. But if you’re in that mode of thinking that says “my boyfriend/hubs doesn’t love me because he didn’t send flowers/buy jewelry/rent out a jumbotron, etc., let me just straighten you out: Real love has nothing to do with buying stuff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day in a big way and if that’s your thing then, by all means, do it up in style. But — just like your momma always told you — it really is the thought that counts.

This year I’m grateful that my husband is home so that we can NOT celebrate together. In the past we’ve been forced by deployments and other separations to opt out of V-Day. This year I’m glad we get to choose to mostly ignore it.

This year I’m grateful that he got mad at me for buying donuts last night to give the kids for a special Valentine’s Day breakfast today because, apparently, he had planned to get up early and go buy donuts  and coffee (the coffee was for me, not the kids) before the rest of us were awake. That’s real love.

And real love is dashing back to the house, even though he was running late for work, just to give me a little sprig of vinka and a kiss.

And … maybe most of all … real love is him being willing to sit through a kids’ gymnastics class even though he says all the little girls in leotards make him feel like a perv for being there, and they play the same song 30 times in an hour and a half, and that one lady on the bleachers talks incessantly about her kids and drives everyone crazy. But real love is being there anyway because nothing makes our daughter happier than seeing her daddy in the front row watching her do her “nastics”.  And that makes for a perfect a Valentine’s Day for me because, as I tell him all the time, a man looks his most handsome when he’s being  good to his children and there is nothing more precious than watching a father dote on his daughter.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who are celebrating it, and Happy Tuesday to the rest of you!

 

11 a.m. update: It seems we will NOT be having pot roast in the crock pot tonight. I set a frozen roast on the counter to thaw and the stupid dog (we have two — the smart one and the stupid one) ate it. She actually ate the entire, frozen solid, hunk of meat — styrofoam tray, plastic wrap and all. In fact, we may end up at Fazoli’s again this year, but this time it will be (mostly) by choice. 🙂