I saw on the TV news last night, that the average person spends $168.00 on Valentine's Day for their loved one, but that only 17% buy the jewelry so aggressively advertised this time of year. I bet that many of those $168.00 are spent on roses and a night out at a favourite restaurant.
My husband and I have celebrated twenty-two Valentine's Days together. Our Valentine's Day gifts usually consist of a thoughtful card and a box of chocolates, because we both appreciate thoughtfulness as well as chocolate very much. Sometimes I have had flowers, too, but not often. I usually cook a special Valentine's supper for my family and we all gather around the table to celebrate our love for each other in the best way we know how - with food.
This Valentine's Day my husband had to get up at five a.m. to go to work (there is lots of sickness and other stuff happening at his workplace this time of year), so while he was in the shower I sneaked upstairs and left his card and chocolates for him to find on the kitchen table where he would be assembling his breakfast. He left for work without saying goodbye, which is not unusual because as he dresses his focus is already on the day, and the challenges, ahead. Instead of being hurt as I would have been fifteen years ago, I went back to sleep and dreamed of the African jungle in the book I'm reading. When I awoke I went upstairs to make my coffee and see my girls off to school. There, right where I grind the coffee beans, was an envelope and a box of chocolates from the same shop where I had purchased his. The message in the card was simple and loving, very similar to the one I'd left him. I suppose after twenty-two years, the need for a lot of words ebbs and flows just like everything else in marriage.
Our youngest daughter, who has had a cold for a week, developed a bad cough last night. It wasn't much better this morning, so I kept her home from school and took her container full of homemade, individually wrapped and labeled iced heart cookie Valentines - I made the dough and she and her sister did the rest - to her teacher to distribute. Now I am settling down for a morning of writing a blog post and then an article for the newspaper on an upcoming annual event I organize with the local librarian. The dishwasher is scrubbing last night's dishes, my sick daughter is eating toast and watching a DVD, and my son is practicing his violin pieces for his upcoming auditions. Family life carries on and does not stop for this holiday. It is, however, made a little bit sweeter because of it.
Happy Valentine's Day, however you spend it, or whatever you spend on it.
The photo is one I took at the end of a gloriously sunny, frosty day in January, when my Valentine, our girls and I went for a walk on a local trail.