I’m so glad Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. This way we can be relatively relaxed all day and then celebrate tonight as a family. I’ve always thought of Valentine’s Day as a family celebration, not a couple-thing. Maybe it’s because my family always celebrated as a family, with a special dinner on the 14th where we set a beautiful table with pink and red camillas from the garden as the centerpiece and mom or dad cooked something wonderful and we each had a stack of Valentines at our plate.
I’ve written before about how Dad and Mom would give us each a Hallmark card (besides our birthday, it was the only other time we got a card from our parents) and then Dad would often personalize the cards for each of us kids, adding in little notes, crossing out something and then filling in something even funnier, and I loved opening my stack of family Valentines. We kids would buy Valentine’s for everyone, too–in the beginning they were the left over school Valentines, but then later we’d ride our bike or drive a car to the store and buy a card for everyone in the family.
I’ve carried the Porter family tradition into my family and honestly can’t imagine celebrating Valentine’s Day out at a fine restaurant without my kids. I actually don’t like eating out on this night. It’s so much cozier and warmer and friendlier around our own dining table with my own pink and red linens and pink stemware and vases of tulips and roses. (Yes, all this pink and red with an all boy family!)
I did have a little melt-down yesterday, though, when I discovered my boys decided to forgo getting cards for each other and me so they could concentrate on buying gifts and gift cards. I was quite impressive as I stormed about the meaning of Valentine’s Day and how Valentine’s Day isn’t about gifts, its about cards–and apparently store bought cards–because I didn’t want my kids to make me a card (which they hastily offered to do) as I knew they’d be hastily scribbled.
My storming went something like this: “No, I want a card, a real card.”
“But we’ll make you one. We’ll make each other one.”
“How? With what? Do you have doilies? Lace? Beautiful red paper? Do you have an envelope? Because I don’t just want colored pencils on paper. That was fine when you were five. But you’re ten and thirteen and you can put some effort into this.”
Well, I showed them the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. In the worst sort of way. And no, it’s not about consumerism. It’s about being loving and sharing tokens of love, and yes, I’d love a home made card if the boys really tried, but all I heard was “am I getting a Game Stop gift card?” “I don’t want any Lego this year, I’m tired of Lego, and want the new Pokeman movie instead.”
Anyway, meltdown over, storming ceased, I smile wryly at the lessons I (inadvertently) teach. But at least my boys can’t say that their mom didn’t try to teach them to try to do things nicely. Maybe a man doesn’t need his gift wrapped, or a card for a birthday, or flowers for Valentine’s Day, but as a woman, I do, and as a woman, I’m going to encourage my guys to think about what a woman wants and needs, not just on special days, but every day.
Tell me what one thing you’d like most/best for Valentine’s Day and you’re entered in my Valentine’s Mystery contest. I’ve got two boxes of prizes that were never claimed and I’m giving them away in the drawing. Post something by midnight tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll announce the two winners. The boxes are taped up and I’m not sure what’s in them anymore but they both have See’s chocolates I believe and I’d love to get them in the mail on Tuesday. So if you’re up for a Mystery prize and feel like sharing, go for it! And Happy Valentine’s Day to all!