Happy Valentine’s Day

There are basically two types of people in this world — those that become pathetic saps over a contrived Hallmark holiday and those that, well, don’t.  And it IS possible to switch teams.  I used to be one of those saps.

We used to make dinner reservations weeks in advance at a fancy restaurant that we couldn’t really afford, and my husband would dutifully bring home overpriced flowers.  And every year for many years I made a chocolate cake in a heart-shaped cake pan.  I will have to dig up the photos and scan them.  They should be good for a laugh.

But after 3 kids and 13 years of marriage, I have decided that I’d rather go out to eat when the restaurants are not filled to capacity with lovey-dovey couples, and I much prefer spontaneous flowers over flowers purchased out of guilt and fear of retribution (with the caveat that flowers are flowers and I make it a policy never to begrudge the giving and receiving of flowers, no matter what the motivation.)

My husband brought me flowers the night before I left for Blissdom, which was totally sweet and spontaneous, and that meant far more to me than flowers on the day that Hallmark dictates.  So I told him that I would be perfectly happy if we spend Valentines Day this year at home catching up on 24 and Lost.

I’m not totally heartless, though.  I spent yesterday morning at the grocery store purchasing steak and fingerling potatoes for a special family dinner, and I even picked up a heart-shaped cake in remembrance of years past.  Of course, I spent the whole day yesterday thinking it was the 14th and didn’t realize till I started banging out my post late in the afternoon about my over-planned day that it was only the 13th.  I think I need a vacation.  Oh wait.  I just had a vacation.  So scratch that.  I think I need my family to take a vacation while I stay home and just veg for a long weekend.  Doesn’t that sound absolutely divine!?

Any-WHO.

Because I am not one to change my plans easily, I went ahead and prepared our Valentine’s dinner last night, which was providential because at 10pm last night while I was sitting here at the computer, my 3-year-old started waking up and crying out intermittently.  Usually she does that once, and when we go up and cover her and snuggle her for a few minutes, she goes right back to sleep.  But last night after it happened several times, I decided to go on up and crawl in bed with her for the night.

I scooped her up and carried her into our bed (she always ends up there eventually; might as well just cut to the chase) and snuggled down under the covers and cradled her next to me as she pressed her squishy, soft cheeks into my neck and tucked her chubby toddler legs in between my own.  As I kissed on the top of her silky head, I thanked God for our health this winter (it really has been remarkable, with the notable exception of C’s scarlet fever over Christmas vacation.)  There has been so much talk of sickness on the interwebs, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our overall good health.  As I continued my prayer, I asked for continued good health.  Even though I know we are no more deserving than the next household, it never hurts to ask for special favors, right?

I kid you not, I prayed that prayer FIVE MINUTES before R started crying out and complaining of a tummy ache.  I got her up and put her on the potty and, long story short, she proceeded to discharge her dinner three times over the next hour.

Now I’ve said before that I’m worthless in a crisis situation.  I am also worthless in a puke situation.  I don’t exactly lose my head as I do in a crisis, but I become completely helpless.  Besides the fact that I am tempted to retch right along with her, I have no idea what to do with the mess that ensues.  And where was my husband, the official cleaner upper of all things messy and disgusting?  Off recording his podcast.  How convenient for him.  Thank you and goodnight.

By the time he got home, R was a puking pro and I had her pretty much trained to direct her discharge into the toilet.  She’s a quick learner.  It also helps that she’s a tad OCD like her mother and was more than willing to be taught the finer points of regurgitating with minimal recoil.  We all settled into bed around midnight, not sure what the night had in store for us.  My biggest fear is being puked upon, but I didn’t have the heart to make her stay alone in her own bed.  Fortunately, we made it through the night without incident and awoke to a child who showed no sign of the distress of the night.

While this morning has been blissfully uneventful, I can’t help but feel like I’m just waiting for the next shoe to drop.  I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t secure a babysitter and make dinner reservations.  We will spend our Valentines Day watching vigilantly for signs of pukeage while we strip the beds and apply Lysol to every available surface and reminisce of more romantic Valentine’s Days of years past.

Happy Valentine’s Day!