Ah, Valentine's Day. A day to celebrate romance. A day for elegant dinners, beautiful bouquets, and lovely gifts. At least for those couples who don't fall into the we-have-small-children category.
After a discussion about well-intended sweetheart gifts that missed the mark, Glen asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I told him all I wanted was a nap. A girl can dream, can't she? There's always next year.
The best Valentine's Day gift I've ever received came six years ago, when Dan was a two-month-old.
We were working as herdsmen for our friends at the time. At least Glen was; I was still on maternity leave. Glen got up at 3:30 a.m. every morning and left for the farm at 3:45. He returned home at 10 p.m. every night.
Dan was still waking up to nurse two or three times a night. And that was after fussing all evening.
Even if it had been an option, we both would have been too exhausted to celebrate Valentine's Day.
But, as most happy couples eventually figure out, the little gestures of love and appreciation count more than celebrations and gifts.
When Dan woke up that Valentine's Day morning, I took him to the changing table like I always did. But when I unzipped his sleeper to change his diaper, I was surprised to see this: ***
In case you can't tell from photo, that's Glen's writing in red permanent marker (the one he always kept in the pocket of his barn jeans) on a corner of one of the microfiber towels we used to clean cows' teats with at the farm. And it looks like he cut the towel with his pocket knife. On the towel, he wrote: "Dan's ♥'s his Mommy."
And on the back side of the towel he wrote: "Glen ♥'s Dan's Mom."
For so many reasons, this simple valentine meant so much to me. (And still does.)
First, as a wife who got to spend a half hour with her husband most days, it was an affirmation of Glen's love. Second, as a new mom who constantly worried about whether she was doing things right, it was a reminder from Glen that our son loved me, too, regardless of whether my mothering style was right or not.
*** I hope Daphne won't be upset when she realizes that I dressed her up in her brother's clothes to take this picture. ☺
Happy Valentine's Day! And, remember, it's not the grand gifts of love, it's the little gestures that count.