Sunday, 17 February 2019

Love is for 365 Days a Year, but there is only one Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is an odd one. I'm sure it used to be a day to let someone know you have feelings for them, but it’s now been marketed to death so it’s seen by many as a day to let anyone you love know you care about them. This seems to mean giving cards and presents to your partner, children and parents. You can even buy cards for your pet dog. And don’t even get me started on Galentine's Day.

3 Valentine's Day Cards


I remember when I was at school desperately hoping for a card each year, but let’s face it most school boys (at least back then, things may have changed) couldn’t give two hoots about Valentine's Day. If they fancied you they were more likely to trip you over as you walked past, or later try and grab you for a drunken snog (at a party, not at school obviously). The boys that cared about the day were probably the sensitive soles who secretly wrote love poetry in their rooms at night, and they are not the sort of boys most of us wanted to date at school.

Now I am in a grown up relationship Valentine's Day should be redundant shouldn’t it? My partner should know I love him and if he doesn’t then there is no card or present that is going to save our relationship. We should let people we love know how much we appreciate them everyday, but it's so easy to get caught up in the daily grind so I see no harm in a day which reminds us to stop and tell someone we love and appreciate them.

Valentine's Day for us this year wasn’t the most romantic. G was working from home so I could go to the dentist and get a broken tooth fixed. It meant I got to sleep in a bit later than normal, but as I had been woken up numerous times by a poorly toddler plus night feeds for the baby and I had lost an hour or so of sleep due to toothache I still felt pretty much like a zombie when I got up.

It was too much of a rush, and I was hardly in an appreciative state, before leaving for the dentist so we agreed to exchange cards later. Then when I returned an hour later my mouth was half numb and I still felt awful so I left G to work while I got the toddler dressed and I headed out with the Smalls to meet a friend.

Gradually over a couple of hours sensation returned to my face and I remembered the art of conversation with an actual adult (I have spent so much time in hibernation since Baby Boy was born thanks to illness it took a while). I left the café feeling more human, but exhausted from the busiest morning I had experienced for a while.

G agreed to keep an eye on Little while he worked and I took Baby Boy upstairs so we could both nap in the 80 minutes before G had a conference call. My normally sleepy baby boy decided now was not the time for napping and it took me 40 minutes to persuade him to sleep. I was just beginning to close my eyes when Little started to bang on my bedroom door. My nap was not going to happen.

I somehow passed a couple of hours with the small ones before cooking us dinner, a more extravagant affair than normal: fillet of salmon with ratatouille and new potatoes. I could claim I had carefully planned it for Valentine’s Day but the fish happened to be on offer when I did my Ocado shop and it had to be used by 15th Feb. 

G picked my eldest (M) up from her after school club and finally once he was home (and the girls were entertained watching TV) we exchanged cards. I hadn’t got G a present as I had run out of ideas by Christmas and he had his birthday since then so it seemed better to give just a homemade card (made mostly by my toddler) than gift some tat that would just sit in a drawer for the rest of time like so many previous gifts. I might have given him my cold though. G gave me a few token gifts and 3 cards because he’s like that.

A toddler using paint sticks to create a valentine's day card
Child labour: getting Little to make a Valentine's card

Bedtime was easier than normal with G around so he focused on getting Little to sleep and me Baby Boy. G also had to make sure M went to bed ok as I was asleep long before her (by 8pm according to my Fitbit). Happy Valentine’s to him!

It wasn’t the most romantic of days, but it is a special day for us normally as it’s the anniversary of the first day we went for a drink together. It was a purely platonic drink to cheer me up and I was married at the time, but without that first drink we might not be here 5 years later with 2 children together.

Being divorced from a relationship that basically fell apart because we took each other for granted and made zero effort makes me appreciate G so much more. The real gifts he gave me this week were not a pair of socks, silly pencil and a notepad (that M has her eyes on). The real gifts were that he got up early to look after the children while I slept, he loaded the dishwasher, he worked from home and looked after the children so I could get my mouth sorted out, he spent the rest of the day working hard in his job which allows me to not go out to work and he didn’t complain about the state of the house, he never complains about the state of the house because he fully appreciates that childcare is a full time job without being a cleaner too. These are the kind of gifts he gives me everyday and they mean so much more than anything he can order from Amazon.

There are many days G drives me mad. At times I feel he shows no interest in what I’m doing or how I’m feeling. His jokes can be repetitive and irritating. He spends too much time on his phone playing games (why can’t he waste his time on social media like a normal person?). And if he sees an empty sofa he sees it as an invitation to leave his dirty clothes on it.

He drives me mad, but he makes me happy, he makes me feel safe, he makes me feel attractive and I love him. I love him everyday not just on Valentine's Day, but it's always good to remind him.

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