So how was your Valentine's Day?
We do celebrate Valentine's Day though it is not the big production it might be for some. But any occasion to remind us to make sure we tell each other that we do care about each other is an occasion worth celebrating, even if it has become very secularized and might smother you in schmaltzy commercials.
My Valentine's Day began at 5:45am when Felicity came to our bed and climbed in next to me. Shortly thereafter, Cecilia followed suit. Both were asking to go downstairs and were not overly thrilled when I informed them that I refused to go downstairs before 6am. By the time we had gone downstairs, it didn't take long for them to begin bickering over a toy. Each got a time out on a separate sofa before 7am. Needless to say, my hopes for the day and my temper were not doing very well.
After finishing breakfast and emptying the dishwasher, I sorted and began the laundry. I got through half of Mass on EWTN before the girls got so loud, I couldn't even hear it anymore. Cecilia and Felicity brought me a Valentine's Day card. Felicity asked to open it. Instead of letting her open the card to me from the girls, I gave the girls their cards. The card from the girls was so cute with their doodles on it and Cecilia's signature (and Elizabeth and the baby's signature by James). But the cuteness was short-lived when the girls began whining and fighting over seeing each other's Valentine's Day cards, two of which played music. As I had to intervene a couple of times, my temper was getting worse again, so I sent them to the playroom and said my Morning Prayer in the Divine Office. It did wonders for my sour disposition!
Cecilia got through reading lesson #58 and almost 2 pages of math and then broke down crying that the next reading lesson didn't have a new sound for her to learn (they introduce new sounds about ever 4 or 5 lessons). I took what school we had gotten done as a positive and let the rest go as she seemed so sensitive and tired and it was only 9:30! Cecilia asked if I had a Valentine's Day card for daddy. Of course I had one for me to give him, but I didn't have one for her to give him (blame it on baby brain), so I suggested she make one.
All three girls spent the next hour drawing and coloring and Cecilia did make her own Valentine's Day card for daddy while I continued moving the laundry along and began making a double batch of homemade tomato sauce. Things were definitely improving overall. Around 10:30, Cecilia and Felicity went to the playroom and, other than one or two minor interventions, played nicely. Elizabeth began to melt down, which doesn't surprise me anymore given how her teething has been but a couple of Youtube videos seemed to cheer her up.
After a successful lunch of leftover pizza for the girls and a BLT for me (after 8 months without sandwiches, I am SO missing them!) I told Cecilia and Felicity it was beautiful outside today and they should get dressed before I get Elizabeth asleep. They both bolted to get their clothes and get dressed and were out on the deck before I even took Elizabeth upstairs. Elizabeth napped, I worked more on the tomato sauce, Cecilia and Felicity had a blast outside and it had even gotten to 75 inside the house such that I threw open 4 windows in the kitchen and kept the sliding door to the deck wide open (screened of course, just in case). At 2:15 I checked the monitor to see Elizabeth sitting in her bed reading a book that had been on the bureau.
Laundry cleaned. Elizabeth napped. Cecilia and Felicity outside time. Sauce done and just simmering. The day was shaping up pretty well.
Although we had told the girls they might not get their Valentine's Day treats if they didn't behave, we knew if we didn't dope 'em up with some sugar, having gotten up at 5:45am, they would be crashing too late for a nap and too early for bed. They had definitely improved too, so we did give them some Hershey's Kisses. Elizabeth also got a Elmo Valentine's Day board book, Cecilia got a small Hello Kitty (which she had begged for since her shots last month when she discovered Hello Kitty all over her band-aid, a band-aid, I might add, it took us weeks to get her to take off), and Felicity got a small Pascale (from Tangled). Cecilia and Felicity also got a small book of stickers, which Elizabeth enjoyed pulling off the paper Felicity had stuck them to and trying to re-stick them.
We then had an all-girls viewing of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown before beginning clean up. Cecilia and Felicity played while they cleaned up claiming their toys were helping them. It seemed to make it more fun for them until they realized it took longer. Over an hour later I helped them speed it up a bit.
After a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner, with homemade tomato sauce and bread, we put away all the clean laundry, bathed the girls, and James put them to bed. I got to shower! And then put the sauce away in containers to freeze. I will soon continue reading my book.
But I had to reflect on this Valentine's Day. It wasn't full of flowers or massages or a dinner out. There was no jewelry or expensive gifts. It wasn't an easy day. There was bickering and meltdowns. No one got to sleep in (except Elizabeth) or got breakfast in bed. No one got a day off and there was messes and dirty laundry and pots to scrub. Our day was not one of romance as most people would think of it.
Our Valentine's Day, was more of a St. Valentine's Day, for Saint Valentine is the patron saint of Happy Marriages and the fruit of our happy marriage is our family. Today was about family in every sense - the ups and downs, the smiles and tears, the trials to patience and the surges of joy. James and I exchanged cards and the girls gave me a card, but I feel like my entire day was a big, elaborate, intricate valentine. I don't think that could compare with the most romantic day.
Hope everyone had a very blessed Saint Valentine's Day!