February 14th was not a big celebration in our house. We acknowledged it, but didn’t go crazy. I would like to say that the Valentine’s feeling was in our home all the time, sounds corny, but for the most part it was true. Jim always got me flowers, from my favorite florist, and my gifts for Jim varied until one year I hit the jackpot of all gifts – Lemon Meringue Pie. This was his FAVORITE of all the the food that came from of my kitchen. It was his mother’s recipe with some hints from Betty Crocker to make it mine. And he would not share. In our family the girls were Jim’s valentines and the boys were mine. Jim always gave the girls flowers and the boy’s gifts were games and things.
When Maggie suggested writing about Valentines I asked for her best memory. The best gift she ever received not because of the content but the presentation was white box with red ribbon. When she untied the ribbon and a heart shaped mylar balloon floated up and under it was a white nightgown with red hearts. I could not remember all that creativity so I called Molly, the oldest, and asked about it. Yes, she remembered the nightgown and the balloon, but the presentation was very different. The girls got the nightgowns, and Tim got the fabulous walking balloon. I think Maggie wanted the balloon so much that her memory gave it to her.
In 2010, Valentine’s Day was something we all wanted to forget. This holiday, that was not a special one in our family became one we dreaded. The girls in our family, including me had lost their Valentine. Jim’s cousin Patrick remembered us, with beautiful flowers it was so thoughtful and sweet, but of course not the same.
The next year, my boys took on the role of our Valentines. First year or two we were sent beautiful flowers and we loved them, then their creativity came to bear. I received a box of anatomically correct red chocolate hearts. Very interesting, I love chocolate, but these were difficult to stomach. The girls received rolls of toilet paper with red lips on them. The boy’s gifts ranged from hotdog and bun cookers, boxers with hearts and the ever popular egg mcmuffin maker. Nell received a rubber horse head mask. This was actually the gift that keeps on giving as we see it from time to time, when Nell is around. That same year, I received my favorite, Love Rats, one red with white hearts and one white with red hearts, both with long tails. They are proudly displayed in my kitchen and are commented on frequently.
Though the gifts have changed and our main Valentine is gone, this holiday remains about the love and care we have for each other. Now it is more playful, we have become much more creative. The girls have helped me pick out gifts for the boys the last few years. And I think this year is probably the best. I will let you know what it is next month.