So, of course I have to write about one of, if not (arguably) THE most inflated holiday where budget is concerned. The expectation is so high for Valentine’s Day that it is almost unrealistic. Even if money isn’t an object to you why on earth would you want to spend so much it trying to meet such an unattainable expectation?? And whhhhyyyy do we focus so much of our time preaching about not buying love all year and then on February 14 even the most level headed and practical individual tends to melt into a chocolate coated illusion. Needless to say I don’t buy into it, pun intended. Do I celebrate it? Yes, but I tend to decorate and celebrate for all holidays just for the fun of it. I’m not irish in fact I’m the opposite but I get into it. I like change and I like decorating and being festive so in this sense I, myself, melt a bit.
Maybe my perspective comes from our relationship history or maybe I’m just that person. I did come to the recent realization that I am not, whatsoever, a hopeless romantic. I find proposals a bit corny. I’m not a big fan of grand gestures and it simply means more to me that Brent knows how to make my coffee than buy me jewelry. It’s always been this way, though. When Brent and I started dating we were young and in college with very little money. Our schedules were crazy and we didn’t have the time or the money to go out and celebrate with a schmancy dinner. So we decided to cook together. Something we still enjoy doing today. We went to the grocery store bought cajun catfish from the seafood department (not freshly cut either, the pre-packaged, super cheap ones) and a bag of Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf. We got some fresh strawberries and container of chocolate you melt in the microwave. We spent the evening cooking together and playing Trivia Pursuit. We exchanged cards and that was it. Now you can imagine over the past 9 years our V-day celebrations have varied a bit, I think we have ventured out one, maybe two years overall, but in recent years we have decided to go back to basics.
We make gifts and cards; and enjoy sharing love as a family rather just with one another. We want our girls to see the love we share and also be a part of it. Understanding that it’s not just about Brent and I-although our relationship and love continues to be the foundation of-course- but it’s about showing them what real healthy love is and feels like. Yes, per usual I was up late last night decorating the house for the festive feeling, but it cost me all of $5. A package of paper doilies, some sparkly confetti, and three balloons all from the dollar tree. Then I used art projects the girls made at school and some materials I had around the house to make it fun. For breakfast we made pink waffles and for dinner, you guessed it, cajun catfish and rice pilaf is on the menu (homemade this time because I have enhanced my rice cooking skills over the years). We maintain keeping money costs for gifts low. I picked up some things from the store I knew Brent needed, hair gel, coffee, etc. and grabbed his favorite chocolates. I recycled a basket I had around the house put all the items in it found an old picture of us and in an envelope wrote out the length of time we have been together in days, weeks, seconds, etc. and wrote “a time to remember.” In the envelope I placed old love letters, our vows, and some fun memories. All priceless.
For the girls made him a card with handprints and kisses all over it. It was perfect. For each of the kiddos I spent $2.50 on these tin mailboxes that came with stickers and activity sets in them plus a $1 box of chocolates for each of them. I had picked up some tees at at a kids store for $1.99 each and I saved them for today. Done! Honestly, they had more fun with the balloons than anything else, lol.
In short, we work really hard to nurture our love and relationship all year-round. Admittedly, we are completely guilty of falling victim to saying Happy Valentine’s Day, but we do this on birthdays and anniversaries as well. It’s just an extra special gesture to act as a reminder for everyone that love is important and we need to take a moment to be gentle, to be kind and to share love. Money does not equate love. Fancy dresses and dinners are fun but aren’t they more fun when they aren’t expected? Isn’t it more enjoyable to go when it’s spontaneous and unexpected? For me, on Valentine’s day I’d rather eat chocolate and drink wine in sweats, playing cards and sharing a couch with just one person rather than a dining room with 50. With this I’d say, make your own moment. Don’t let the expectation of society dictate your actions and therefore expend your wallet, come on, isn’t it obvious? It’s about love not money.
Happy Valentine’s Day ox