A family Valentine’s Day

A few years ago, before I had children, I had on Live With Regis and Kelly while getting ready for the day.  It was Valentine’s Day and Kelly Rippa was talking about how she and her husband liked to spend it with their children.  They went to dinner and hung out with the kids.  I remember thinking that sounded a bit crazy.  I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend Valentine’s Day with kiddos instead of just my husband.

The first couple of years of motherhood, I still kind of felt this way.  Having dinner with a baby or toddler isn’t super exciting or fun.  It usually means food ends up on both of us and I end up eating my food cold.  It didn’t seem like a nice celebration.  While I loved my daughter so incredibly, I still looked forward to something special with my husband for Valentine’s Day.  But that’s changed.  And now I am looking forward to this evening with my entire family.  Having a preschooler makes holidays more fun.  She can actually get excited about them and participate in them.  We’ve spent the week making cards for people and are going to work on some special treats today before she has her Valentine’s party at preschool.  Tonight we’ll pick up a heart-shaped pizza for dinner.  Then we’ll hang out and have fun as a family. We may have a dance party in the living room.  I really, truly can’t imagine doing anything differently.

All I want to do is cuddle with my kiddos and my husband.  Tomorrow my husband and I will do something to celebrate on our own.  We’ll have lunch and go to a movie or something. And I’m looking forward to that, too.  I always look forward to time alone with my husband when we can relax, hang out and reconnect without interference.  But I look forward as well to hanging out with him with the children and seeing them laugh and play together.  That is love.  They are my heart.

My Valentine’s Day this year started earlier than usual when my 1-year-old woke up hungry an hour earlier than usual.  I made him a bottle (we’re in the middle of transitioning to cow’s milk and out of bottles since he just had his birthday) and took it to his room.  I was grumbling in my head a bit about having to start Valentine’s Day even earlier than usual (and I’m a morning person).  I figured I was going to miss out on my morning quiet time that I so need to get my day off on the right foot.  But after his bottle, he snuggled into me.  I don’t get too many snuggles from him these days.  He is way too busy exploring, playing and learning to take more and more steps on his own.  I held him in his rocking chair and we just hung out.  Sometimes he’d snuggle into my chest.  Sometimes he’d pop his head up and look into my eyes.  Sometimes he’d stare at the Spider-man poster behind me.  Sometimes he’d gently poke my chest and neck and then poke his own.  I loved taking in his sweet expressions and staring into his big brown eyes.  Then he finally just settled into me in sleepy contentment.  All of my grumbles disappeared and I realized this was the perfect way to start Valentine’s Day.

I did lay him back down after a little while so he could fall asleep and get the rest he needed.  And I still got in my quiet time and most of a bowl of cereal before the 4-year-old was up for the day.  But that sweet snuggle was the best start to any day, especially Valentine’s Day.  It reminded me of all I have to be thankful for this Valentine’s Day and everyday.  I am surrounded by the love of little ones and a good man.  Even if today is busy and hectic, like life is with little ones, even if my piece of heart-shaped pizza is getting chilly by the time I get a chance to eat it, this Valentine’s Day is going to be a good one.  It’s filled with love and the people who so completely have my heart.  Nothing is better than that!

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day?

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