Love: when it began, it was simple. Dinners, movies, days spent finding endless things to do with each other and for each other. The first Valentine’s Day together was the most incredible! He surprised me with dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant. Then we headed out for what turned out to be one of my favorite movies “Definitely, Maybe.” And then we drove around town talking the night away. This cycle of young love and special days continued.
And then we had kids. Sigh! The first couple of years things went completely out of whack. The romance disappeared in our struggles to balance chores and kids. The sparks were all but extinguished in lights turned off and on to find burp cloths to wipe up puke, pee or poop. We only went out together on “dates” twice when my parents visited from Kuwait, and those dates were hurried, lasting only till the baby’s next feeding time.
But, with time, I have realized romance is kind of overrated. Love is much more than candy, long walks, and candlelit dinners. Valentine’s Days now are spent with those who have been born of the bond that we share. Love that we birthed together. A relationship that has been through pregnancies and swollen feet and childbirth and first milestones. Through bad tantrums, growing pains, and sick days when cooking was forgotten and messy house and hair ruled! When we celebrate now, it is with memories of tiny hands and feet and games and time together that make us laugh and our eyes well up with tears.
This love is more pure than any other. It takes hard work. Every. Single. Day!
So rather than missing those romantic dinner dates, now we make the day memorable by rejoicing in our little family and our togetherness by –
Making Simple Crafts
Fancy gifts have been replaced by keepsakes. Handprints. Footprints. You name it, we have it. Pinterest is full of simple crafts to do with your little ones no matter how old they are.
Getting To Know Each Other
Every year I ask my kids questions. I record their answers in a journal or a fancy card that later goes into the journal. Their answers are super cute and so heartwarming to go back to and read. It’s fascinating to see the world as they see it.
- What does dad like to do?
- Who do you love more?
- What’s your favorite food?
- What is your sister’s favorite thing to do?
- Who do you think mom loves?
- What do you love to do?
As the kids get older, I can make the questions more philosophical and observe my kids growing as loving beings.
Picnicking with the Family
We have fun packing up a special lunch and spending all of Valentine’s morning out with our little ones. They so enjoy running around on the grass, munching on treats, and people watching with me. Luckily Richmond has an amazingly variety of parks to enjoy. We use the Richmond Moms Blog Guide to Parks to find a new one to enjoy each time.
Cooking Up a Storm
We have been doing a lot of baking: brownies, cakes, cupcakes. The kids do whatever they can. They help add sugar and flour to the bowl. They also make sure we haven’t forgotten the yummy goodies in the oven! We have a blast creating sweetness.
Decorating the Home
I always do a little something to make the home feel a bit more festive. My son is older now, and my daughter has a lot of opinions. So what do we do? We head to the dollar store and brainstorm a few items appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Then we go home and decorate together.
Making Dinner Fancy
Restaurants can be a nightmare. The kids can’t sit still long enough, and we do not have the patience to sit through dinner at a fancy place that amplifies their screams or hilarious comments. So dinner is fancy at home. I decorate the table, and we have something yummy for everyone. The kids feel all grown up helping set up, and it’s great practice for eating out.
Having Friends Over
Valentine’s Day is a super special time to enjoy those we truly care about. Being with friends only shows our little ones how important it is to nurture relationships. And nothing is better than having a party to enhance the occasion.
We make it a super special night with games. I love playing games with the kiddos. The laughter, hugs, and memories we create as we cheat, lie, and run around are truly priceless. You never feel as young as when you play with little ones and relearn the lessons of life with them.
Photographing The Day
Yes, this has become a part of the day now. It’s too often that we neglect to get dressed up just because we have nowhere to go. So we make it a point to wear our best outfits and take candid pictures to mark the day!
We make sure to spend a part of the evening dancing our hearts out. It is so therapeutic. and the kids love getting their wiggles out. When we put on some slow songs, the kids get into the fun and slow dance with mom and dad too.
Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day as you shower your endearment on those who matter the most!