This will be Paul and I’s 11th Valentine’s Day together this year. That’s 11 chances to celebrate this sappy holiday where a woman’s dream comes true with a box of chocolates, some beautiful flowers or a gorgeous new piece of jewelry. Eleven opportunities to be over-the-top romantic — candlelit dinner, rose pedals — the whole shebang.
However, I am pretty positive that V-day No. 11 will go exactly how Nos. 1-10 went — with a nice evening at home enjoying a homecooked meal and cuddling up on the loveseat. I wish I could tell you that it is this way because of having kids, but, in all honesty, this is how it has always been with us.
Oh sure, sometimes I long for the Knight in Shining Armor to comes sweep me off of my feet and ride me off into the sunset. But let’s get serious, those fairytale relationships never really amount to long-term marriages. Those flutters and goosebumps, they really do not last forever. Unfortunately, there are many people who think that once those are gone, so is the relationship.
In my opinion, that is when true love actually begins. When you don’t need a bouquet of roses to know he loves you because he emptied the trash and did three loads of laundry that week (it’s still in a basket unfolded but it is clean, and that is love). When you don’t need a candlelit dinner because when one child decides to go No. 2 during dinner (which seriously happens about five times a week around here), he will get up and do the wiping. True love.
We have never been an over-the-top romantic couple. I am pretty sure the only jewelry he has even bought me was my engagement ring. But somehow, I managed to get the exact earrings I wanted wrapped and under the tree for Christmas. That’s how we work. I don’t need to guess what you want and please do not even attempt to guess what I want. How about we just get what we want ourselves.
One holiday together early on, I bought him an expensive massage. He never used it. Ten years later, every time he asks me for a neck rub, I remind him about that massage he never used. Oh, I still give in and rub his neck, but he most likely will never hear the end of it. Trust me, it is best if we just stick with getting ourselves what we want.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am in denial. Like I would totally love to be completely spoiled with gifts and experiences every Valentine’s Day and every other Hallmark holiday as well. But can you imagine keeping up with that?! And could I even pretend to be surprised year after year with the same flowers and same box of chocolates? Appreciative yes, but man! I have way too much going on to try and impress the man who I have been with for 10 years on a made-up holiday.
Don’t get me wrong, if it works for you all, then keep rocking it. It just isn’t our thing. Nah, we prefer Valentine’s Day with Paul cooking it up in the kitchen. Steaks and mashed potatoes and maybe some asparagus. Then we will romantically dine together at our kitchen bar — Reagan on my lap stealing every other bite and Paul standing on the other side of the counter because there aren’t enough chairs on this side.
We will actually use real plates — the glass ones we got at our wedding. Not paper (which I, the dishwasher prefer, but it is a special occasion so I will allow it). Heck, we may even get us some Blue Moon with a couple of wedges of orange (for the grown-ups only of course).
Then, after our nightly circus act of getting the girls to bed, we will put on some music, put down our phones and just talk. Because that is what we do. We may have lost the courting butterflies years ago but we gained a true understanding of respect, friendship, teamwork, appreciation and love. All of these things are way more important to me than some flowers that will die in a week or two.
Don’t get me wrong. If he brings me home a diamond, I will not send it back. But truly, in this world of tangible gift giving in an attempt to portray (or make up for) a superficial love, I am more than happy to spend Valentine’s days with my husband doing a whole lot of nothing. In fact, in our crazy, busy lives, nothing sounds better to me than doing absolutely nothing.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.
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