We celebrate Valentine’s Day – Now and then

For quite a few years now, my husband and I have not visited a restaurant on Valentine’s night for the obligatory dinner, because frankly, we can cook a cheaper meal at home.

I’m a girl who loves to dress up and go out, and staying in does mean that dishes have to be done after we eat, but where’s the fun in sitting down in a too-tight dress and looking around at all the other people who en masse decided to take somebody else’s word, that it was the second best night of the year to go out to dinner.

If I’m to be completely honest, though, our tradition came into being by accident. Valentine’s Day invariably fell during the week, and our babysitters just weren’t making themselves available, so although my sister-in-law once took her daughter along in her car seat to a romantic dinner with her husband, we decided to stay home and make our own fun (and food) instead.

My husband cooks quite well, so with a menu of food items that we have only once in a while, some soft music, a few glasses of wine, an early bedtime for the little one, we were set. When the second child came along, we just decided to make it a family affair, with the baby in her car seat and the four year old with his own place setting.

I guess as the years pass, you become a bit more practical and you make adjustments where necessary. I’m not saying that romance goes out the window, but I have to get up to go to work the next day.

But lest you think that I don’t appreciate a romantic gesture, there’s one that my husband made one Valentine’s Day BC (before children), that I won’t ever forget.

Saying that he had a surprise for me, he asked me to stay in the bedroom until he was ready. I was aware, since he wasn’t in the house that the surprise was happening outside, but I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a new car.

Finally he was ready. When he came back inside, I was surprised to see that he was sweating bullets – and having long since proposed, I didn’t know what all that perspiration meant. I wasn’t pregnant, was I?

Across the road from our house was an empty lot. And there on the grass were about forty small paper bags lit with votive candles that had been placed in a heart formation. I took his word for it, because it was probably more obvious when viewed from the air. My first thought was “what a beautiful thing to do”. My second was, “Lord that was a ton of work – no wonder he was sweating”.

Since those were the days when we paid to eat dinner on Valentine’s Day, we got ready to go. But since we didn’t want the neighbours to think that we were irresponsible – or worse, engaging in the dark arts – we made sure to blow out the candles before we left.

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