An ode to True Love..

True love, unlike what it says in the Princess Bride..

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…does not always mean finding that perfect person – the soul mate which you spend the rest of your life. Nice ideals bred out of the romantic illusion sold over the last few hundred years since Prince Charming slipped that slipper on Cinderella’s foot.

For us, Valentine’s Day is a panicked rush where I scrounge to help three children make Valentine’s Day cards for their classes while loading them up with dollar store chocolates hoping most of them are nut free. Valentine’s Day means staying up late to set a table laden with felt hearts and small gifts because a tradition was inadvertently started when your eldest child was four years old and you are now locked into it –  even if all you want to do is get yourself to bed and watch a show on Netflix or read a book. Valentine’s Day means rushing home and not getting any work done because you need to make those chocolate heart cakes for their afternoon snacks – even if it is out of a box.  You do all of these things – even if you don’t want to –  because you’re a parent. If that isn’t true love, then I have no idea what is.

From what I have learned being a parent means living every day for true love.

You know it’s true love when:

  1. Get up early every morning to make sure little people get a half decent breakfast before school.
  2. Become a taxi cab driver who works for free and drives everywhere.
  3. Sleep in your car because you’re too tired to take a walk outside after the morning school drop off and ensuing arguments in the car because a kid forgot something.
  4. Wash and fold clothes non-stop. (Or until you give up and close the door pretending laundry doesn’t exist.)
  5. Give up caring how messy their rooms are because you want them to express themselves – even if it secretly drives you a little crazy.
  6. Still say “I love you” at the end of the day – even if they are being argumentative, moody or downright rude.
  7. Walk away – at any point – without losing your cool and put yourself in a time out.
  8. Try not to cry or make a big deal when they do the dishes for you without asking.
  9. Force yourself away from the playground after you heard someone was bothering them.
  10. Finally – you know it’s true love when you keep waking up each morning and say to yourself – “It’s a new day. Today will be better.” But you secretly know it will be the same and you get up anyway.

For all the tired parents out there who may wonder who are the people who go out for a nice adult dinner on Valentine’s Day – once your kids are off their chocolate highs from the copious amounts of candy they had at school (or brought home) – give yourself a pat on the back. You know what true love really is and you live it each and every day.

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How Sweet It Is

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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It is the day when we show our loved ones how much we appreciate them. Full of hearts, flowers and candy we try to capture the sweetest things in one full day. As a child I remember the excitement surrounding chocolate Hershey kisses and those cinnamon hearts as candy-grams were delivered to each classroom. The anxiety as I crept into adolescence about who would send me one and who would not. A couple of years in high school I remember a matching game, where you answered random questions and then on Valentine’s Day, based on your compatibility your “matches” were sent to you for girls to giggle over all spit out by a new fangled computer.

Valentine’s Day has been fairly quiet since high school. Mr. L not growing up in the sometimes commercial holiday bonanza that is North America, had a really difficult time accepting he married a woman who relishes and deep down expects some sort of token from her sweetheart. Some years I received a card alongside a box of chocolate he picked up at the local convenience store on the way home in an attempt to celebrate the day. Other years I received beautifully expensive bouquets, never fully living up to the pictures online. Giving him props for trying, I had accepted that Valentine’s Day was just a typical day and if anything was given, it would be a bonus. Until this year.

Reading Gretchen Rubin’s – Happier at Home, she described how she took charge of these emotional days and made them fun for her family. Having a revelation of my own, I thought, “Why should I have to wait for others to do something? I can do something.”

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Taking a page from this awesome book, I decorated the table the night before and made tiny croissants with chocolate drops melted into gooey goodness for breakfast. The girl’s lunches had a few sweets added and you know what? It was a wonderful start to the day! That happy feeling knowing my kids were excited about Valentine’s Day and just doing something for everyone to make things a little more festive is something I think we should have more of in our everyday lives. After school the kids excitedly went through every single valentine they had received and as I tucked them into bed that night, they told me it was the best day ever.

So this year, I hope you celebrated Valentine’s Day in your own special way and had a wonderful day!