I still give my husband crap whenever he drops the ball on Valentine’s Day. Is it a holiday invented by retailers throughout North America? Yes. Do I still want to see flowers and chocolates waiting for me downstairs? Absolutely! But this year is different. This year, I’m not just cooking up heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies for when hubby gets home. This year, love takes on a whole new meaning; this year, I’m a mom.
As we get older, we learn quickly that blood isn’t always thicker than water and that every single time we love, it feels different. There are the loves that fade in and out; those that pop in quickly but last a lifetime; and inevitably, the ones you just didn’t see coming. There’s the passionate love you share with your partner. Or maybe it’s a simple sort of love that swells in silence, a feeling of belonging in a life shared with your better half. There’s the protective kind of love you have for your pet, and the adoring love you have for your mentor, and a million other types of love that will make grand entrances and subtle exits over for the course of a lifetime, but nothing – and I mean nothing – is as fulfilling as the unconditional love shared between a parent and their child.
The question now is: if Valentine’s Day used to revolve around fancy couple dinners featuring glass upon glass of expensive wine, what on earth does it mean now that the love we celebrate is shared between three?
For now, it doesn’t mean much – except for a cute stuffed animal that will go straight to the mouth and then on the floor, never to be seen or played with again. In years to come however, this holiday will consist of homemade cards that my daughter and I will put together especially for daddy, and yummy chocolates chosen by delicate hands and presented as a combined gift from my husband and our beautiful baby girl. All of a sudden the importance of grand gestures has disappeared (I hope my husband isn’t reading this) and we have entered the era of meaningful gifts. Gifts that will be stashed in closets and shoe boxes for years to come; gifts that will be cherished, and then forgotten and then found again by generations down the road; gifts that last a lot longer than it takes for roses to wither, or for me to polish off a box of chocolate delights.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never say no to a beautiful necklace or surprise weekend escape (now my husband can start paying attention), but in the end, all I want for Valentine’s Day is to spend every minute of it with the ones I love more than anything in this world and to bask in the smiles, the milestones and this one-of-a-kind love shared between a parent and their child.