Special as in, kids expect much, those romantically inclined expect nothing.
The thing with this whole parenting deal is, once you start a tradition, there’s no backing out. Regardless of work, sports, homework, money, exhaustion.
So come Valentine’s Day, kids expect lobster, or something special that swims in the sea. And china, fancy glasses filled with Shirley Temples, and little gifts on their chairs. Chocolates hiding in velvet heart coffins. Arguments over whose is bigger.
Aww, sibling love.
It’s the only time the Lenox china my Italian friend insisted I register for some 20+ years ago comes out. (She got 23 place settings, I got 2-1/2. It’s an Italian thing, I guess.)
We clear off my office (dining room table), set it all special, with candles and everything. The kids drink out of wine glasses, which gets a little sketchy in the teen years; fingers-crossed no photos show up on Facebook where overly enthusiastic APs (assistant principals) anxiously await “questionable” FB photos to haul teen butts in for interrogation. Relax dudes: gingerale and maraschino cherries.
Nothing on my chair. No candy heart. No Valentine. No roses. Thankfully, no ugly-ass open heart jewels.
The kids are flabbergast Daddy didn’t get me anything, and I reassure them, despite the utterly ridiculous Kay commercials, that Daddy gives me gifts. In private.
Which leads to synchronized gagging.
They’re horrified, which leads to much simulating puking, then silence. Because if they puke up that expensive lobster, I will make them eat it.
Here’s the truth:
My rather attractive husband’s PDA? It’s all tucked away, for safe keeping. He buys a card. Sometimes. And puts it in his best rolling tool box, buried safely in the garage cave.
There’s scores of Valentine’s Cards there, Mother’s Day too, most still in their Hallmark bags. Under sawblades, vice grips, Gorilla Glue, and unidentified man-stuff.
The cards are unsigned. No hugs and kisses or true love always. Nothing. Oil-stained and wrinkled and never delivered. But they’re there. I’ve seen them when searching for a screw . . . driver.
Inside hides my own stash of ungiven Valentines, and perhaps a birthday card or two, bought, saved, and forgotten. It’s my tool chest. Guilty.
The kids get the fancy dinner, with trinkets and chocolate and dead crustaceans dipped in butter.
Rather attractive hubby and I buy (sometimes), and don’t deliver (often), cards that can’t express, no matter how nice the photo or words someone else writes, the love that surrounds our table on Valentine’s Day and every day. Mostly.