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Most of us love a good love story. As little girls, we dream of being swept of our feet by our own Prince Charming. We are conditioned by the Rom Com genre of movies to think that we meet the one; get swept up in a whirlwind romance; endure some tragedy or misunderstanding; reconcile and live happily ever after, right? I mean isn’t that what happens in every Hallmark movie? Especially around this time of year, we have this skewed view that some man is going to break his back to impress us and shower us with lavish gifts. Let me be the breaker of bad news – It doesn’t always happen that way in real life. Unless you married someone who fits into the very small percentage of men who are that thoughtful and romantic, you will spend your life somewhat disappointed or constantly downsizing your expectations.
Maj W and I met in college, but we didn’t date in college. There was intrigue on both of our parts, but nothing that sparked any action – and by action I mean pursuit. It wasn’t until I decided I was moving to the nation’s capital to enjoy the adventure of single life with my best friend, that a fire was sparked. We did the whole long distance thing for a year. In hindsight, it was the foreshadowing to how we would spend at least 20 years of our marriage. However, that first Valentines day was stellar.
Unbeknownst to me, he had schemed with my best friend’s parents, who offered him free room and board on his visits, to arrive a day earlier than I was aware. He raced north from South Carolina to watch me play volleyball with my rec league team. He had no idea what an incredible athlete I was. Well, that’s a stretch, but he saw me sacrifice my body going after a small white ball more than once. Along with arriving early, he brought gifts. One was a matching sterling silver necklace and bracelet set. He also had spent time hand writing a letter to me about how lucky he was to have me in his life and how I had brought so much joy and love and ….yadda, yadda, yadda. He sat and read the letter in its entirety to me. Tears flowed. It was a special moment there in that overpriced 4th floor apartment on the outskirts of DC.
Then you get married and pulling off surprises while sharing bank accounts and credit cards becomes more challenging. Apparently there’s some romance at some point because tiny humans dramatically make their appearances into our lives. Suddenly, these sappy holidays like Valentines become about showing little people how much you love them. Not like I don’t do that every single day when they have clean clothes, warm meals and a never ending supply of ice packs for their boo boos, which brings me to the whole point of this post…Kids and Valentines Day.
Moms, can we have an honest chat about Valentine boxes and Valentine parties? You’re busy. I’m busy. Most of us have multiple kids. So let’s make a pact to scale back on Valentines stuff.
Here are my suggestions:
Say NO to over the top decorated boxes – Yes, that multilayered unicorn contraption you’ve constructed is awesome looking, but is it practical? I mean how is that going to get to and from school unless you bubble wrap it and hand carry it inside the building? Did you know that Target sells these fantastic boxes with lids and a hole already cut in it for cards/candy? Grab yourself a pack of heart shaped stickers and be done with it! Remember when we were kids and drew with markers on a brown paper lunch bag? Best day of this season so far for me was dropping off one of these plain boxes to HarpAlyse’s teacher so she can decorate it in class! Boom and Thank You Mrs. G!
Say NO to all the Pinterest worthy treats – Save yourself some time and money! Go get you a box of Trolls Cards with Stickers or a box of Valentine Exchange Gummy Bears, write names on them and feel good about yourself. Most of us are just going to throw the fancy things in the trash can after they’re eaten. The thought was so fun, but practically speaking it’s not worth your time. Just saying! One of my kids’ teachers sent an email today saying cards/candy for their bags was optional. I already have Valentine Fun Dips that I bought on clearance after Valentines day last year for him to give, but the kids better eat them as soon as they get them because I’m sure they’re getting close to their expiration date!
Scale Back the Parties – I know some of you are into planning parties and you love going all out, but some of us have lives and more than one child. I can’t remember which kid is supposed to take bowls and which is supposed to take special order neon heart stickers to their party! Most of our kids would be content to play Uno and eat a cupcake for an hour. They don’t care how much time was spent planning a 3 minute special Valentine game! How about we just open the doors to the playground and hand everyone a bag of M&M’s on their way to the monkey bars, but not really the monkey bars because they’re dangerous?
Are you ready to sign the pact? For your sanity and mine, please!
I know I’m not alone in feeling like we have taken this annual celebration of love to new, unnecessary heights! Let’s just do all of the parents out there a huge favor and lower our expectations and our budgets. Everything in our kids’ lives doesn’t have to be a production. Let them be little! Let them scribble on a box or bag and have the joy of discovering which character card their friends picked off the shelf at Target or Walmart this year. Solidarity?