Last week the world was filled with hearts and candy and flowers and love. But for me there is one more word that would best describe what my world was filled with: stress.
While some people view Valentine’s Day as an overly commercialized way to guilt people into spending money on frivolous gifts and expensive flowers, I have always viewed it as a sweet way to show someone you love them. And why not? What’s so wrong with having one day a year set aside to really say “I Love You” and do something special for the special people in your life? Nothing, in my opinion, and for that simple reason, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day.
But this year, somewhere along the Valentine’s road, all the wheels fell off my love vehicle.
I think it all started when I decided that it would be fun for my kids to make these really intricate hand-made valentines for all the kids in their classes. After all, their mother’s an artist right? Shouldn’t she be able to help them put together some really special tokens of affection? Well, after the third hour of working on these little rascals, I was really wondering what I had gotten myself into. But that was just the beginning. I spent my Valentine’s Day delivering supplies to the school party, creating little goody bags for my husband and two kids, grocery shopping for a gourmet meal, working on my art and blog, and then after picking the kids up from school, heading home to create a fabulous Family Valentine’s Celebration. Whew! No sweat, right? I can be SuperWoman if I want to! Right? Right? Hello?
Well, as you can probably guess, it didn’t really go as planned. I was tired and stressed, not to mention feeling a little bit sorry for myself, and so when my husband finally got home and walked in with, um, no flowers… let’s just say that it did not go over very well. No flowers? NO FLOWERS? Not even a cheesy box of candy? (never mind that he did have a Valentine’s card for me with a lovely handwritten sentiment and never mind that he is always the most amazing gift giver, so clearly I’m spoiled and never mind that he is the president of a large company who is having some challenges at the moment) What was really important to me in that moment was that he walked into the house with no flowers. It was not good.
I had created all this expectation around the day. I had put too much stress on myself to be perfect and to be the most creative, fabulous mother and wife. Would anyone have cared if I had bought the pre-made valentines? Would my family have cared if we had ordered takeout? No. I had done this. I had created this mad expectation. And I was disappointed that it hadn’t gone as planned.
Needless to say, my husband felt terrible and apologized profusely. He sent me upstairs to have a hot bubble bath alone while he put the kids to bed. I felt much better. And what I realized is that Valentine’s Day is a day about love but it’s not the only day. Every day within a family is about love. It’s about helping each other out, supporting each other. Appreciating that your husband might have a lot of his own stress at work and accepting that he’s not always going to be perfect. And you know what? I don’t have to be perfect either. We are perfectly imperfect. That’s what makes us so perfect for each other.
Okay, so when I got home on Friday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers. And even though I had already realized that I had overreacted and that Valentine’s Day should be about the love you give every day…. this bouquet still made me feel better.
Because, well, in my experience, (and men, don’t forget this) no matter what anyone says, flowers are always a good idea.