I have a friend who is great making family traditions for holidays (even those lame Hallmark ones.) April Fool’s Day is even a big deal in her family!
Just ask the friend who ate a chocolate gnash covered cotton ball while visiting.
(I’ll admit that one was a pretty good prank)
She inspires me to put effort and details to create memories and traditions for my family.
So this year I thought I would try to make Valentine’s Day a little more special. I missed the mark and that’s ok. My perfect day had more of the elements of a drama and endings of a romantic comedy.
I’m a deadline girl so my creative projects usually begin at the last possible minute the night before or in this case the morning of. My alarm was supposed to go off super early so that I could get everything done before my kids woke. My phone died at sometime while I was sleeping, so I woke up 20 minutes before the kids in a scramble. I created the super easy Pinterest inspired cinnamon rolls and decorated their table while I made the kids stay in their room.
They loved it and I felt like I gained a few mom points. I know boys aren’t into details as much as girls but I’m hoping to instill in them the security of knowing they are loved.
I went to the gym in anticipation of my chocolate feast to come and then stopped by our storage unit to get clothes and the other half of a pair of high heeled shoes that I had accidentally boxed up. It’s weird visiting the parts of your life that are currently on hold.
As I paid for my gas, the attendant made my day by simply just saying, “Have a great Valentine’s Day!” and putting a heart on my receipt. He was tattooed, pierced, and had his ear gauged. I wonder if he gave all the men special treatment too or maybe just disheveled moms wearing workout clothes. I appreciated his small act of kindness so much.
I went to boys’ school to do a cameo at both of their V day parties. I’m always torn by which one to be at, so I decided to just swing by each for a bit. My youngest loves seeing me there and treats me like a rock star.
My oldest son acknowledges me like I’m a pesky fan and barely looks at me, but yet he tells me afterward that he likes it when I’m there.
Scanning the room at both of my boys’ Valentine’s parties outed all of the moms and teachers who had been on Pinterest.
I wasn’t at that level this year. I didn’t even have cards with candy or the bonus bag with a card, candy, and little trinkets. Sorry boys, your momma only bought you plain old Star Wars cards.
In my mind, the boys would come home from school and I would have heart-shaped jello out on a decorated table for them to continue the little details from the morning.
I made the jello before I left and was hoping my husband could set it up. He didn’t get the message and was bringing in groceries. I tried to cut the shapes out when we got home and I really failed.
I’m sure there is a technique to get to shapes out and if I had been spending more time on Pinterest researching, I probably could have found it. The boys thought the shapes were elephants and all kinds of images that did not resemble hearts. I ended up scraping up the rest of the non-shaped jello and putting it in bowls for them. They were happy…
But……I was not so happy when I found out there was no dessert for our dinner that night. Not having chocolate or dessert on Vday is like not having greasy food on Super Bowl Sunday.
I would rather eat dessert than dinner any day of the week. So you can see where this is going……. My husband was upset at me for not being appreciative of the special dinner he was making.
I was upset that he told me he was taking care of dessert and then forgot to buy any.
He was making the salad, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, and veggies. I had asked earlier that week if he wanted me to make the dessert. He is a WAY better cook than me for the meal food but the dessert was why I went to the gym that day and it was what I had been looking forward to all day.
So off I went to Meijer to buy all things chocolate, to complete our meal. I found several options and out of frustration began tasting them in the car on the way home.
The dessert verdict was a quick microwaveable chocolate molten cake with mint chocolate chip gelato.
So you could say dinner was a bit tense. We had each hurt each other’s feelings.
I had even thrown his favorite candy at him out of my purse before I left for the store. I had planned on making a cheesy card to go with it but at the time throwing it at him felt better.
Out the window were my plans for decorating the table, playing great music, and enjoying each other’s company.
What’s the holiday about anyway? Oh yeah showing LOVE!!! Oh and that we LOVE our spouse too!!! That’s a little hard right now.
So prepping for our special masquerade swing dance night was also a little icy. I made one final attempt at making the day special for my boys by adding glow sticks to a poster I found in their Vday card box.
I added the cheesy lines of “you light up our lives”, My hope was that when their grandparents put them to bed they would find their surprise right before they went to sleep.
I recalled the handwritten note from my mom in my jewelry box that said, “I love you” on a heart-shaped doily from when I was in high school. I’m not sure what the occasion was and for whatever reason, I have kept it since high school.
I think it was because the way that she knew how to express love was through acts of service and gifts. She had a hard time with words of affirmation and physical touch.
She LOVED me, but her parents and her parent’s parents were not very affectionate or affirming.
You only know what you know. They, like her, showed love in other ways. We would shop together or she would spend all day organizing my closet in high school to show she cared.
For my first child, she put together my over the top baby shower where EVERY detail was thought of to make a great presentation. I’m not saying she wasn’t ever affectionate or affirming. It just wasn’t as natural for her.
I am my mother’s daughter and I have a tendency to display love the same way with quality time, gifts, and acts of service to show that I care but yet I married an affectionate, affirmative husband.
I guess God knows what we need in our lives to challenge us. We tend to give love the way we want to be loved. So that’s where our problem lies…….. I wanted to feel loved by being given something chocolatey and he wanted to feel loved by me appreciating and admiring his efforts in the kitchen.
I try really hard every day to show affection and affirmation to my kids but I am guilty of being sub-par at giving it to my hubby. It just doesn’t come as naturally to me and it’s something I really need to work on practicing daily.
We gave our kids hugs and kisses before we left and took a “fake it til you make it” pic on the way out the door.
We were both pretty upset at each other.
We stopped at a gas station for gum and he came back with chocolate and I was MAD!
This is because before we left the house I told him that my “chocolate love tank” was FULL and I didn’t want him to buy me any because I had eaten plenty already.
To his defense, I told him that I didn’t want any gifts but in my mind, I was going to be eating something sweet for dessert which he forgot to purchase.
He thought I was playing mind games and took the gamble that I might be happy. Ironically, he said he knew I would be ticked but said he just wanted to make me happy.
Clearly, we have a communication issue on this subject. Our car ride was tense and we ended up sitting in the parking lot for a while before going in.
Ugh! This perfect day followed by a perfect date was not going according to the plan I had envisioned in my head.
We finally stepped inside and took in our surroundings.
Lots of creative masks including a guy with a brown bag over his face with eye holes. We made a decision to make the most of it and enjoy ourselves.
We haven’t taken swing lessons in a long time so we only have a few signature moves and then my hubby transitions into “just go with it” freestyle form.
This makes for stepped on toes, almost dislocated shoulders, and many, many laughs.
We tried to copy some of the moves of the pros, participated in the line dances, and even reluctantly laid on the floor with the crowd for Snow Patrol’s song “Chasing Cars.” (must be a Tuesday swing night tradition, they did it in the summer too)
We went back to liking each other again and were reminded of why we are together.
We didn’t have to have other friends with us to have a good time there because we enjoy each other and we really are best friends.
Missing the mark on Valentine’s Day was just another reminder that I miss the mark every day showing love to the people I care about. Love is a verb which means the action has to be taken daily.
Thank God we get to start over each day and try to get closer to the mark.
If you want to learn more about what your love language is, check out the book and website the Five Love Languages. There is a quiz on the site you can take too.