Confession: I used to be good at Valentine’s Day. I spent a lot of time finding the perfect flowers, the perfect restaurant, the perfect outfit, the perfect box of candy, the perfect… everything. Now that I’m older though I don’t put nearly as much effort into it. In fact, in some ways it’s kind of a pain in the ass. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day like a lot of people I know (“It’s a made-up corporate holiday, man!”), but it’s a very different thing today than it was in my younger days.
Before you feel too bad for Heather you should know a couple things. The first is that she’s been the beneficiary of my best Valentine’s Day efforts – eight years ago I surprised her with Rigby, and the next year I popped the question!
Engagement night/ Valentine’s Day 2005
The second thing you should know is that Heather is probably even less enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day these days than I am.
Our mutual lack of enthusiasm was no more evident than during our trip to Target earlier in the week. We were in the toy section, buying a birthday present for our nephew, when we decided we should probably get Annie a little something for Valentine’s Day. When I spotted a Doc McStuffins doll that came with Lambie and a bunch of medical accessories, I thought it was perfect (since Annie is a Doc McStuffins freak), but then Heather checked the price tag and saw it was forty dollars.
“We are not getting that,” Heather said. “After Christmas and her birthday Annie has plenty of toys.”
“I know,” I said. “It’s just that it’s perfect for her.”
“You want to spend forty dollars? You wouldn’t even spend that much on me for Valentine’s Day!”
“I would if I found a present as perfect as that for you.”
Heather rolled her eyes, then suddenly looked worried. “Wait. We’re not getting each other gifts, right?”
“Nope,” I replied.
“Oh, good,” Heather said, relieved.
Just then I noticed a teenage girl with her hand jammed into her boyfriend’s back pocket looking on, horrified. For a second I was tempted to say something like, “Drink it in, Sweetie. This is the future!” But I didn’t. I think we’d disturbed the kid enough as it is.
Here’s the thing, though… when you’ve been together a long time (this is our eleventh Valentine’s Day) and have kids to care for and bills to pay, you don’t relish the idea of dropping a bunch of money just because a holiday expects you to prove your love to each other. We know we love each other, and have more important things to spend our money on.
Lest that seem too cynical, I should mention that we are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day… just a couple days later. This is something we started doing a couple years ago to avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds and restaurant mark-ups. This year, for example, we are going to have a nice dinner date on Saturday night, and we’re both really looking forward to it. Our celebrations may be a bit stripped down these days, but we still enjoy using Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to focus on each other and our relationship… just without all the bells, whistles, and overpriced Teddy Bears.
If there is one thing that might bring back the old Valentine’s Day pro in me, it’s Annabel. This year she understands what Valentine’s Day is, and is really excited about it. Every day she wakes up and asks, “Is it Valentine’s Day yet?” Since today IS Valentine’s Day, I ran out to the store yesterday and got some candy, cards, and even a little Teddy Bear. (Don’t tell Heather, but I may have even bought her some candy, too!)
Maybe that would have been a more honest version of the future for the teenage girl at Target to see – one where our whole family celebrates the love we share on Valentine’s Day together.
I feel you on this one. It used to be the hype, now it’s just the love. I made little ecards for my guys; we’ll do something good when I get through my chemo.
You’re a great dad and husband
Please say you also got Annie the Doc McStuffins doll with Lambie!
No, we didn’t get it. We got her something smaller that she was very happy with. She actually has a Doc McStuffins doll already, just not the fancy one with Lambie. If it were up to me I’d buy Annie everything, thankfully Heather’s a bit more practical!
Mike; you are such a sweet man.
Our “dateversary” falls the day before Vday, but we’ve come to the point where a date after the fact is more appreciated between the two of us.
Since last year we use this opportunity to buy another piece of wedding china on the 13/14th instead of spending it on holiday trinkets. It’s a much nicer arrangement, we’re both a little stingy and it’s hard to justify expensive holiday purchase and we wouldn’t normally spend $100 on a piece of dinnerware. Compromise!
Well, I hope you got Annie that Doc thing. I understand about sometimes finding the perfect toy even when there are plenty….and yes, Valentine’s Day is much less important as time goes on. My guy is the one who says it’s a Hallmark Holiday.
This was our exchange this morning….
H:Happy Valentine’s Day. Me: thanks, Should I say it back? H: hell no, it’s a Hallmark Holiday…Me: 3 words Crotchety.Old.Man. H: 3 words I love you. Me: Oh, yeah, I felt that right down to my soul, now I can float around all day!
Us: hahahahahaha……time to get up! (more giggles.)
That’s what 28 years and four kids gets me!
Oh, we’ve only been married 5 years and we’re getting Chick-fil-a for dinner. That’s the extent of our Valentine’s. Haha!
Totally right there with you. My husband and I are the same. Think Valentines was only ever “important” in high school.
We’ve been married for 7.5 years and now that we have a 4 year old, we don’t buy gifts either. We never really had the money to do it before, so now we just totally take the pressure off. We make a cheese fondue for dinner and eat it on the living room floor (using an extension cord and everything – it’s very classy). After the cheese, we wash the pot and have chocolate fondue for dinner. My daughter LOVES it, it’s fun for our little family, and it really doesn’t cost much. Win, win!
We did fondue tonight as well. My kids love it!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MIKE, HEATHER & ANNIE!!! Wishing you all a warm day filled with LOVE and LAUGHTER!!!
Love from Your Canadian Friend,
Jenn & Brian & the kids…
P.S. We got engaged on Valentine’s Day as well…24 yrs ago for us!!!
Yes this! Totally agree. This is also Valentine’s day number 11 for hubs and I . We are not into spending extra cash just for the heck of it on V-day. I did however get suckered into making crappy Valentine’s cards for my 1 year old’s daycare class. 1 year olds do not need to exchange valentine cards in my opinion but daycare sent home a class list for those who wanted to do cards (totally optional!1!!). I was peer pressured into it. I couldn’t let my kid be a social pariah…
My husband and I stopped celebrating years ago after getting tired of going to crowded restaurants and getting cards, etc. It just seemed like a big competition and I didn’t want to compete to show how much I loved my husband. Today is our first Valentine’s Day with our 6-month old son and well, things have changed. I’m looking forward to making dinner tonight and spending it with my 2 favorite guys celebrating a day, corporate or not, that is supposed to be put aside to express your love for one another. True, it’s something that should occur every day but honestly, it’s Valentine’s Day. Stay home, make, or pick up, dinner, and just love one another.
This is our 15th valentine’s day (HS sweethearts). I didn’t care about it this much back then or now. My husband gets me a card a small gift usually and I do the same. I never understood people buying 2 dozen long stem roses and jewelry for a holiday like this.
Don’t feel weird, Mike. We’ve been married nearly 19 years now, and our anniversary is far more important to us than Valentines. We’re even buying our V. candy tomorrow – when it’s on sale!
I’m glad I’m not alone in this. My husband, whose birthday is the 17th and thus always puts me in panic gift buying mode, was asked “What do you want for Valentine’s Day and your birthday?” Without hesitation, he firmly said “Nothing.” My response was “Fantastic! That’s exactly what I got you!”
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Celebrating before or after the Day feels like we got away with something:) It was important when we were dating but once we were married, it didn’t matter so much (I did tell my husband if he wanted to buy flowers please go to the grocery but do not pay $$$ to have them delivered to my office:) Once we had children I enjoyed helping them get Valentine’s for their classmates. After 24 Valentine’s Days, I get more excited about having a sweet hubby help clean up around the house than flowers.
p.s. the teenager’s reaction to your convo with Heather is too funny!
My dad always got me something for Valentine’s Day, until he passed away when I was 21. I loved knowing that even if Iwas the loser who didn’t get any candy-grams or cards at school, my Daddy would come home from work with a teddy bear or candy for me. So, I’m all for you getting Annie a gift….you are her first Valentine
HEH – I feel you on this one! After 11 years of marriage we are pretty much EH about valentines day. Hubs and I even pinky swore to each other last night to not get anything for each other….because you know, inevitably I wouldn’t get him anything but then he would get ME something and I’d feel like an ass – or vice versa. So this year, it’s pinky swearing in our house – and a nice dinner out next week
I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day — mostly because my parents always made it about love in general . . . as opposed to just romantic love. Maybe many families do, but that made it special!
My fiance and I will celebrate our only Valentine’s as an engaged couple by cooking in and just enjoying a quiet evening! To avoid the rush and craziness, we went for a nice dinner out at a favorite spot last weekend. Makes more sense that way!
Well, you could have always gotten it for Annie and saved it as a present later on (hint: the acrobat is going to be showered with gifts when he shows up, so it might be a good “And we love our Annie very much too!”). I do this with ‘perfect’ toys all the time, to the chagrin of my husband, who keeps complaining that for all the toys our child has, we always seem to find her playing with boxes and random household objects instead.
Don’t feel alone about celebrating Valentine’s Day a few days later. That’s pretty much what we’ve done since our second year of being married. Let’s just say that our first and only dinner out on the day proper turned out to suck for the reasons you mentioned (the restaurant we tried got a black eye it never recovered from again in our view). On the day proper, I used to cook a four course dinner, but that also went the way the way of the dodo after our child was born.
And, hey, could be worse: we can’t do flowers because one of our cats will try eat them despite the fact that many types of flowers are toxic to cats (Valentine’s Day at the vet=no fun), my husband has given up on jewelry because I love the thought but hate wearing it, and I can’t do chocolate because too much of it gets me wired to the point I can’t sleep at night. That leaves the husband cards as the only option.
Good idea about giving it to Annie when the baby comes. We plan to get her a present from the baby, to help make her feel special!
Valentine’s Day is fun for kids & teens. This year all my nieces & nephews are in to getting “real mail from the mailbox”! Especially my 4 year old niece. Easy-peasy. Cards purchased & sent to arrive on VD (I hope!)
The best part of this post was the wonderful picture painted of the Horrified Teens at Target. LOL hahaha Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I couldn’t agree more with everything you said! My husband and I are exactly the same, and after a really annoying V-Day restaurant experience about 10 years ago, if we get a chance to have a date night around the day but not on it, we opt for that as well. So much nicer than dealing with an overcrowded restaurant.
And “Drink it in, Sweetie. This is the future!” – that made me laugh out loud!!