Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. The day where we remember Saint Valentine, the patron saint of hearts, chocolates, roses and cards…Oh, wait…
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not some kind of grinch, OK yes I am. I love the idea of celebrating love. I LOVE it but, as with every lovely idea, commercialism has come along and just ruined it for everyone. The run up to Valentine’s day is an abundance of adverts for meals for two, pretty outfits to impress the love of your life, jewellery, pink wine because pink is LOVE obviously, chocolates and tacky cards.
Couples are made to feel they have to do something ‘fantastic’ on a bleak day in February to SHOW their love. Just being there for one another is no longer enough, it needs proving. Single folk are made to feel inferior for being so terrible a person that no one loves them. They are ‘cheered’ with a patronising “Well you OWN it, you don’t NEED someone else to be happy right?”
Neither of these are very loving attitudes to have really.
As a couple, and more specifically as parents, we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. We don’t go out for a meal as we’re Yorkshire folk and we’re not paying the over inflated prices when we can eat at that very same place for less a different day.
A cinema date is pointless, sitting in silence is not really a show of love, enduring some God awful ‘romantic’ film just makes me want to sick in my mouth a little,though Rory might enjoy the peace and quiet for a couple of hours.
We cook ourselves nice meals together regularly so that’s not really a ‘special’ thing to do, although the Two Dine for £20 looks might fine. Besides,
Rory will be out playing football so it’s quick and simple for dinner. I have since discovered this to be untrue as Rory has rescheduled football. ROMANCE IS ALIVE.
As parents, there’s not a lot else we can do on a Tuesday evening and to be honest, if we do do something ‘nice’ we tend to feel bad that we’re not including the children. I know, losers right!
Last week Aoife’s school had a staff and parent party. It was a fabulous night with quizzes, raffles and Mr & Mrs.
We won Family Fortunes, Huzzah, our teams combined knowledge of box sets and dead people did us proud.
We lost Mr & Mrs…..GUTTED.
Rory thought his favourite ice cream was mint choc chip when it’s CLEARLY strawberry, even Aoife knew that. THEN he thought his procrastination was worse than leaving cupboard doors open. As if! Yes, it’s pretty bloody annoying but not as painful as a jab from a door corner!
After discussing the other couple’s questions we realised we don’t have ‘a song’,
we don’t recall the first film we saw together and I didn’t know it took him five attempts to pass his driving test, he’s a perfectionist and good at everything so I figured he passed before he even took his test!
We only got 2 questions wrong in total but the other couple got a clean sweep and won flights. They seem like lovely people and I truly hope the lucky blighters enjoy their flights…
For a short while after the game our result was playing on my mind. After nine years do we know nothing about each other? Are we not compatible? Aren’t we, dun dun durrrr, in love???
Then I really thought about it.
We started a family.
We still live together.
We laugh together lots.
We always have something to talk about.
Rory plays football a lot less than he did before we met (this is a big deal).
He buys me wine (another big deal).
He works hard to provide a roof over our head so that I can look after our children.
He’s always home for bedtime (the children’s) even if he has loads on at work.
He supports me in everything I do and he never says or does anything he knows will upset me, even if it maybe needs saying.
He’s always putting me, us, first.
In the very same way every choice I make and everything I do is done with him, and the children first and foremost in mind.
What would he like?
What would make them happy?
We stopped thinking of ourselves and started thinking of each other, not because we HAD to, because we wanted to.
We stand united, our little family is the most important thing to both of us.
We both put ourselves second, the happiness of the other and our family is most important to us.
That is so much more important than songs, films and extravagant gifts. (Although….)
That’s how I know we’re in love.
Ultimately love isn’t about romance, love isn’t about showing someone you care once a year, love isn’t something just for couples. It’s for everyone, everywhere at all times. Our capacity to love isn’t limited to just one person and we’re all more than capable of putting ourselves second every now and then. We love our families, our friends, our communities, people who share things in common with us. The love varies but it’s all love and we should be appreciating and embracing these loves every day.
Sunday saw the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness week, a time to think about our actions and the kind things we can do for other with no personal gain for ourselves. THAT’S the kind of love that should be being promoted shared, embraced and advertised. The love that is for all, the love that leaves no-one out, the love that benefits others and doesn’t just make card and chocolate manufacturers richer.
And so, dear friend, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s day and send you lots of love x