Valentine’s Day After Children

Sunday night, Chris and I went out to dinner for an early Valentine’s Day.  We tried a sushi place for the first time and we were not disappointed.  I think I ate my baby weight in sushi (only the cooked fish though – don’t worry!).  It was delicious.  We hadn’t had good sushi since we moved from Connecticut and though this place was worlds different than the hole-in-the-wall place we used to go to up there, the sushi was every bit as good and it was nice to feel like we had found one more thing down here that felt like home.

Only, there was a little hiccup in our romantic dinner.

We finished appetizers and six rolls of sushi in about 15 minutes.  Seriously.  We were seated, ordered, ate, and paid the bill in 20 minutes.  When the check came to the table, Chris checked his watch and died laughing.

“What are we going to do now?  We can’t go home yet.  We just left.”

“I know.  But we don’t really have the money to go do anything else.”

“Yeah,” said Chris.  “And I really want to see the Grammy’s.”

“Good, cause I really want to read my book,” I said.

On the ride home, Chris and I tried to figure out how our romantic Valentine’s dinner had been so quick.  We decided it was because when we go out to dinner normally with Bean, we have to hurry because we have approximately 15 or 20 minutes before he starts getting fidgety and antsy.  So, we’re just in the habit of eating quick.  It’s a necessity.  Which is great, unless it’s Valentine’s Day and you’re trying to spend some quality time with your husband.

Then today in one of my classes, a student asked me what Chris had given me for Valentine’s Day.  I looked around me at the room full of hopeful middle school students, all holding their teddy bears and roses and love letters and candy from significant others that they truly believe are the people they will spend the rest of their lives with.  Their eyes looked at me with a romantic, whispy look that said, “Isn’t love awesome?”

“Uh…” I studdered, trying to decide if I should lie or be honest.  I went with honesty.  “He got me a SunPass.”

Total silence in the room.

And then from the back, some poor, lovesick 12-year-old girl quietly asked, “Is that what happens when you get married?”

Not wanting to burst their little pink and red heart-shaped bubbles, I quickly recovered with, “But he bought me a dozen roses and a sweet card, too!”

(That’s a total lie, by the way.)

They seemed to collectively sigh with relief and the happy hum of a classroom full of puppy love middle schoolers resumed.

Yes, it’s true.  Chris got me a SunPass for Valentine’s Day.  But it’s what I wanted!

Which begs the question…What the heck is wrong with us?!?!  We finally – FINALLY – get time away for a romantic dinner together and we’re home in less than an hour.  And we’re giving each other things like toll money for gifts.  What the heck is going on?  Don’t you think those things should raise some red flags about the state of our marriage?

Eh…not really.

I was a little worried about it until today.  Monday.  The Real Valentine’s Day.  Around 10:30 this morning, I got an email from Chris at work.  All it said was, “I can’t stop thinking about you today and how much I love you and our life together.  Just wanted you to know.”  I think I giggled like my students for about 2 hours and I must have re-read the email about a million times.

And then tonight, I came home and made a Valentine’s Dinner for Chris and Bean.  On our romantic menu?  Spaghetti and meatballs.  Bean’s favorite.

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And cucumbers in vinegar. Chris’s favorite.

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I set the table with all the Valentine goodies the two of them had for the day. Cards from different family members, art projects that Bean had made at school during his Valentine’s Day party, cute little notes and odds and ends that people have sent us to tell us we are loved.

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And while I finished cooking and dishing up dinner, the two of them got to sit in their seats and open all their goodies. We laughed and talked and made Bean sing the “I Love You” song over and over again. Finally, dinner was on the table and we all ate together, talking about our days and listening to Bean babble on about…well, we’re not really sure…

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After dinner, we all helped put away dishes and clean up the kitchen. Which wore Bean out and so he laid down on the counter and talked to us while we cleaned.

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So, Valentine’s Day was pretty much like any other day in our house. Except we all had candy. And you know what? It was one of my favorite Valentine’s Days yet. True, it was very different than past, over the top, romantic Valentine’s Days. True, there were no flowers or stuffed animals. But there was lots of love. You could feel it in our house. And that meant more to me than any dinner out or any gift Chris might have given me.

Marriage changes things. Kids change things. But those changes are sometimes the things in life that are so good, you didn’t even know to ask for them because you didn’t even know that kind of happiness was possible. That’s the change that marriage and children bring to my life. And not just on Valentine’s Day. Every day I find things in my life that are simpler, different, and worlds better than I could have even imagined.

*****

Today I am grateful for sundresses!

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36 Thoughts to “Valentine’s Day After Children”

  1. How sweet! and Bean was so cool with the celebration:)) The cucumber is awesome, my favorite too.

  2. I was wondering the same thing with T and I…we’ve become so practical, and it’s gotten worse since we’ve gotten married. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. As long as you enjoy each other and the love you share, all of that other hype is just that…hype. And it looks like you had a great Valentine’s evening with your two Valentines 🙂

  3. This is a great post! It’s true that a baby (or kids) changes everything, but it isn’t better or worse, just different.

    I love the idealism of middle schoolers 🙂

  4. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day,spending time with your family loving each other with the little everyday things you do 🙂

  5. I hear you! Chad and I managed to go out to dinner (Red Robin) with Nate and eat an entire meal with no one crying. We didn’t push it and decided to only get entrees (no desert/no appetizer) but it was heaven. Sure, we whipped out the iPhone and downloaded a Thomas movie from Netflix to distract Nate for five whopping minutes. And we fingerpainted–with water. And we drew with (and nibbled on) crayons. But it was heaven. Pure heaven! Best Valentine’s Day ever!!! 🙂

  6. Lisa

    I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, or a big fan of the showy kind with the flowers, jewellery, etc. Its a really good excuse to eat candy though!!! I’m happy as long as my hubby and I have been able to spend the day together doing something we enjoy. This year it was ordering pizza and watching TV together and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I’m happy that you enjoyed your day with your boys 🙂

  7. Oh you are absolutely right, Katie! Last night my husband and I had a “romantic” dinner in with Ezra. Was it romantic? Not as much as if could have been. (Ezra’s loving the word “nooooo!”) Did it celebrate love? Absolutely. Glad you had a great Valentine’s Day!

  8. Amy

    Beautiful post, Katie 🙂 My favorite part was “…those changes are sometimes the things in life that are so good, you didn’t even know to ask for them because you didn’t even know that kind of happiness was possible.” AMEN.

    It sounds like it was a perfectly lovely Valentine’s Day 🙂

  9. Awww, such a sweet post! And you know what? It actually made me excited about Valentine’s Day during married life. I’m getting married in the fall and I’m constantly nervous about how things are going to change and if they’re going to be less romantic because we’ll be around each other all the time. I laughed at the part about the “is that what happens after you’re married?”. But you know what? There may not be a dozen roses and big big box of chocolates or some other extravagant gift- but there’ll be the little things that make it just as good if not better. And you’re post is proof of that.

  10. MaryanneD

    Katie, I love this: “Marriage changes things. Kids change things. But those changes are sometimes the things in life that are so good, you didn’t even know to ask for them because you didn’t even know that kind of happiness was possible. ” You are so right!

  11. Last year, Aaron bought me a knife for Valentine’s Day. Yes. A fancy knife. And he was SO EXCITED to give it to me. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t excited to get it. I had to explain to him that on Valentine’s Day–especially the Valentine’s Day after I birthed our baby–I was expecting a little more romance. Maybe flowers or some candy. I felt like a jerk telling him what I wanted as a gift, but I was really hurt. The next day, he and Porter brought me a dozen roses and chocolate! This year, money is super tight for us but Aaron gave me a love letter and a rose. Porter got me a small heart balloon and a Snoopy card. We ate plain cheese pizza in the living room while watching Jeopardy. It was one of the best Valentine’s Days EVER!

  12. LOL, I love this…sushi is always quick! 😉 It’s so true that life changes, but when we’re lucky, it just keeps getting better and better!

  13. So true on so many levels. My husband and I are done with dinner at a restaurant in 30 minutes. We always put over an hour on the parking meter, hoping that time might be different, but it never is. We’re going out for V-day tomorrow, so hopefully we can make it to 45 minutes! Glad you had a day full of love with your family yesterday!

  14. Every year, i bug my husband to plan something and surprise me. What girl doesn’t love a little romance? Last year for Valentine’s Day, my husband and I went out for a nice dinner (that he planned!) and we ended up waiting an extra 45 mins for our table. Not his fault but it made me laugh a little. This year, after a rotten day at work, I just curled up on the couch next to my husband and didn’t cook a darn thing because I wasn’t in the mood. But my husband was wonderful and let me sulk and be in a bad mood and didn’t complain. I got really lucky with this one 🙂

  15. Really good and insightful post–and I love the shot of Bean on the counter! Woe is me…my life is so hard… 🙂

  16. It sounds like an absolutely perfect Valentine’s Day! So much love in your family!

  17. That’s adorable! And sounds like a great V-Day to me! Cute how your students are all wide-eyed and in “love.” Life does change after marriage (and kids), but I’d rather take my old lame life with him over my single carefree crazy days ANY day!

  18. Anna in Ohio

    Am I the only one who doesn’t know what a SunPass is? Glad you had a great Valentine’s day!

  19. I love Bean curling up on the counter while you clean up. I wish I could do that sometimes! I love that you celebrated all kinds of love at Valentine’s Day, not just romantic love. Valentine’s Day SHOULD be just like any other day but with more candy 🙂

  20. My husband and I have never really been into holidays and giving each other gifts. To us, it is just too much pressure. Instead, we try to celebrate our love every day in small ways that really add up. We are not always successful, but we try! I might pick up something he especially loves at the grocery for a treat, and he might clean up a whole bunch of stuff around the house without me asking. Now that is love!

  21. Rachel

    My 14 year old daughter was telling us she can’t wait until she’s older & married because then Valentines Day will be so much cooler, and she’ll get gifts (she’s not dating yet). My husband & I started laughing & said “Do you realize we bought each other SHEETROCK for Valentines Day this year?” The joys of being married 18+ years & in the middle of a home remodling project… wouldn’t change a thing though!

  22. It sounds like you have grown up! I am appalled at all the stuff sent to kids at school these days. I see no reason to clutter up the schools, or why parents would want to send the stuff to school to be dragged home by the child. Such materialism and exhibitionism disturbs me when it is ingrained in children like it is these days. I know a whole bunch of grown adults who are about the same maturity level as your students, sad to say. Even sadder, they are parents. What’s wrong with keeping all this stuff at home? Is it because no one would see it, and therefore, assume no one loves you? Get real.

  23. Nikki

    Let me start off by saying that I am not a Valentine’s Day person. At all. When I told J that I really didn’t want anything, he verified it multiple times to make sure I wasn’t secretly pushing him to buy me something! We spent the night with pizza, wine, tv and bartering with the cable company to lower our bill. It was a great night in my book!

  24. Ashley

    I loved reading this! I swear you make me laugh with every single post! 🙂 Also, I am glad that I am not the only one who reads sweet e-mail messages a million times. I practically have them memorized only five minutes after first reading them!

  25. I love this post! I got my hubby a new bluetooth and he got me some much needed new black shoes. Nothing romantic. We don’t have kids, but I would much rather have the shoes than flowers and balloons. 🙂

  26. Sounds a lot like our Valentine’s day! We even had Cucumbers in vinegar!! NO JOKE!

    Glad you had a good Valentine’s Day!

    🙂

    Megan

  27. I got a knife sharpener for v-day. Hey, it’s the thought that counts! My husband actually heard me say I couldn’t find the one we had before we moved. Points for paying attention!

  28. So sweet…and that was comforting to hear since I’m not married and don’t have kids yet!

  29. Ok for our first Valentines post baby, we took him with us (he is 10 weeks old) to our local tex-mex hang out, had margaritas, talked, and he slept! But our first “date” after he was born… we went out for sushi, and ice cream and we were gone a whole… HOUR AND A HALF. How sad!!

  30. Shelley

    What a sweet, sweet post today. Now, I have to pretend to be your Mom and tell you it’s not “studdered,” it’s “stuttered.” Sorry!

  31. Jayne

    We’ve been married 1.5 years with no kids and we’ve been… cooling it already? LOL. No really, we never placed much emphasis on V-Day and I don’t like him spending a bomb on roses (he doesn’t like spending the $ too so it’s a win-win). 🙂 I sent him a lovey dovey SMS the night before Vday. He bought me a 1 metre stuffed monkey (came together with a free 40cm stuffed baby monkey!!) for V-Day and early bday gift a few days before the actual day. Sweetest thing ever. I hug both monkeys to sleep cos they are so soft and cute. And I made him a nice dinner so we ate in. Cuddling ended the day perfectly. I guess, sometimes simple is perfect. I want to have a Vday like yours when kids come rolling in.

  32. I LOVED this post! Makes me feel good I wasn’t the only Mommy out there who was happy with her low-key Valentine’s Day.

  33. This is so true. Valentine’s day just isn’t the same after marriage and kids. But I love it all the same 🙂

  34. I think it is great. I find that one the joys is love is that you can get those practical things. My husband got me a new pillow – the pricey memory foam ones. Not romantic chocolate of flowers but I am in love with it! I cooked him a steak dinner (while I was in labor)! True love right there!

  35. That reminds me of our first date of the year last month (I gave my hubby 12 date cards for Christmas this year so we will get at least 12 dates this year -better than our 3 last year). After dinner, we looked at each other and said now what?? I told him it didn’t matter, as long as we weren’t back before the sitter put Jack to bed. That’s my only requirement for a date night. 🙂 We have 11 more to practice with and get it right.

  36. look at your beautiful belly 🙂 and my little guy has that same bib! oh the things that excite me. i follow your blog everyday and i am just now commenting for the first time oh the shame…

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