I know a plethora of folks out there regard Valentine’s Day as a meaningless “holiday.” There are those who feel it is an overrated day of commercial benefit, perpetuated by greeting card companies and chocolate manufacturers, and I suppose they may not be entirely off base. After all, do we need a calendar to tell us when to give flowers, or candy, or paper hearts? Is it necessary to oversaturate the market with tangible items meant to represent something completely intangible? While I respect those who stand staunchly by that viewpoint, I prefer not to be quite so cynical about the whole deal. Instead, I choose to see the day as a not-so-gentle nudge in the right direction for those who aren’t as romantically inclined by nature. I believe that romance is a learned habit and doesn’t come easily for everyone out there. I realize, for instance, that in asking some men to sit down for a candlelit dinner, you might as well be asking if you can inflict them with the Bubonic Plague. I suspect February 14th incites a perpetual “deer in the headlights” look from spouses across America, as they tear their hair out over finding a token keepsake that says “I love you,” with just the right amount of pizzazz. The thought of coming up with gift ideas makes many a husband break out in a massive case of hives, God bless them. But there are gifts that can’t be wrapped, and sentiments that a Hallmark card can’t write for us. They generally come in the form of unconditional love, support, affection, and intimate moments shared while the kids are asleep. And, in my book, they are the most treasured gifts one can give or receive. All of the silly lollipops and forget-me-nots aside, I think Valentine’s Day is a good time to articulate our appreciation. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the little things that endear us to one another, that made us fall in love to begin with. Which brings me to…
I certainly don’t want to diminish the feelings any of us have for our significant others, but I believe Valentine’s Day is about love in all capacities, rather than just a romantic one. On May 21st of 2012, when my daughter was born, my husband and I fell in love all over again~ with our baby girl, as well as with each other. We are celebrating our parentallove this Valentine’s Day too, because its depth has propelled us into an entirely different stratosphere. The feelings we have for Gray are limitless, overwhelming, and fundamental. Though our love for her is unquantifiable, it is somewhat measured by the small moments that resonate in a big way. Those instances have taken many forms; they’ve been hilarious, gut wrenching, terrifying, wonderful, smile worthy, tear inducing, and poignant… Sometimes all at once! So, in honor of the first Valentine’s Day we get to be in love as a family, I have compiled a list of some of the memorable events and observations that have made us realize what loving a child truly is. It is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start! Since laughter is a form of sharing love, I’ve stuck to mostly tongue-in-cheek examples. Hopefully you’ll giggle along with us as you reminisce about some of your own love-inspiring anecdotes. A big hug and thanks to my mom, who helped by contributing some of her experiences as well. Please feel free to leave your own additions in the comment section!
- Slobbery baby kisses.
- Knowing you’d go through another 9 months of praying to the porcelain God, puffing up like a French pastry, breaking out in acne and mysterious rashes, suffering through back pain, craving pickles and ice cream, (insert your own personal hell here…), and feeling like you’ve been lifting weights from your breasts, if it meant having another child who’s as perfect as the one in your arms.
- Inviting in the dawn of a new media decade~ a.k.a. forgoing your favorite car playlist to listen to Winnie the Pooh music, and swapping out that episode of Scandal you Tivo’d, in exchange for back to back episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba.
- Becoming best friends with the unholy trinity~ poop, puke, and snot.
- Having the covers stolen, freezing your butt off all night, then somehow winding up in the co-sleeper, because your child is a nighttime nomad.
- Trading in your party dress and stilettos for practical shoes and clothes that don’t purport to be “dry clean only.”
- Knowing the words to every Disney song better than your child does. (Are there bonus points for dressing up like the princess who sings them?)
- Learning that Play-doh is not easily removed from carpets, and walls are not an ideal medium for crayon drawings.
- Bundling your child in so much winter paraphernalia that they resemble the Michelin Man, but forgetting to put your own coat on.
- Loving and admiring your spouse even more, because he or she is such a phenomenal parent.
- Gladly trading in wine night with the girls to read Goodnight Moon for the hundredth time.
- Allowing yourself to become a human jungle gym… And scratching post… And teething toy.
TO BE CONTINUED…
This particular blog installment happens to coincide with my once-a-month contribution for People.com. You can read the rest of this week’s post by visiting my blog there… Please also check back here next Friday, for an exclusive Cradle Chronicles post! In the meantime, if you haven’t read last week’s “Can We Get A January Do Over?” you’ll find it if you scroll down or check out my archives!
Until next time… Peace, Love, & Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
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