Certainly I enjoy going out with my husband to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but there are other people in my home that I want to know I love them, too. And remind them that they love each other. But I frankly find life overwhelming even without holidays, and a stressed-out mom does not exactly give you that loving feeling. So we’ve developed a way to have a Valentine’s Day celebration that minimizes Mom’s stress.
First, the menu is the same every year and pre-approved by the kids. We have tomato soup (nice and red, right from the can) and grilled cheese sandwiches cut in a heart shape with a large cookie cutter. (We usually make grilled cheese in a sandwich maker, so making them in a frying pan or griddle makes them special in our house.) Our cookie cutter is wide, so I make sure to get bread that is wide also, not a square.
We also like a bowl of fresh strawberries on the table. (Maybe cut in half to look more heart-shaped.) Sure, that spinach strawberry salad would be great, but I would have to eat it all myself, as my kids are greenophobic. If I have time to put into the meal, I put it into a dessert, where the kids appreciate it most. Then they really know it’s a special occasion.
After dinner, we open our Valentine Mailbox that has been collecting Valentines we have each made for each other. I have to facilitate this a bit by supplying paper, stamps, stickers, stencils, glue, glitter, scizzors, etc. and declaring one night about a week before the 14th as mandatory Valentine making night. No one can finish them all in that night, but it gets the ball rolling, and they know we will leave the materials out for a few days and they are now on their own.
Usually at this family Valentine’s party, someone still in the single digit age group begs to be the “Valentine Bunny” (or something like that that I don’t remember ever coming up with) and delivers the Valentines to each member of the family.
Sometimes they are not much to look at, but other times I have been touched at how even a teenage brother can, on his own, take time to do something special for a sibling or parent. I know the token of affection (don’t tell them I said that) wouldn’t have been made without the expectation that we would all make something for each member of the family. And Valentine’s Day truly becomes a holiday I can love because though everyone else in the family just receives a few Valentines, even the ones that aren’t for me add to my warm feeling inside.