So there was a constant chatter amongst the men in my office, about V-day plans this past Tuesday. To be honest, there was little interest on my part, mostly because Mike and I already kind of had like an unspoken agreement that there will be no frills this year. Not planned as such, it’s just that we stay real about it: if we feel it, then we’re all in, and if we’re not feeling it, then we’re happily chilling together. This year was definitely a chill year. But, I digress slightly. So towards the end of the day, I wheel over to my one colleague who’s pretty much on the same wavelength as me and ask, so? Plans? He slowly turns his gaze to me, and through half-cocked-desperate-for-sleep eyes manages to shake his head with a “no”. He adds, “all I want to do is get home and sleep.”
I giggled in absolute solidarity and understanding of the familiar premise. Wanting to know our plans, I let him in on Mike and my usual loose plan that we do pretty often for a beach sunset with (preggy) bubbly and dessert decked out cutely. Mike and I are both beach lovers, and find a shoreline sunset perfect for those romantic nights when neither of us are keen for the bun fight of restaurant reservations.
Apparently this was good enough to inspire my colleague to do something similar with his wife and daughters that night. But fast forward to where I’m pulling up to our drive away feeling 50 shades of pure exhaustion (thanks to preggy hormones and hectic work schedule), and where suddenly my colleague’s plans of sleep seem to be trumping any beach &bubbly dream I could think of.
To my surprise, hubby’s car was there already.*GASP* He almost never comes home early… Annnd cue my romantic bones flying into all sorts of fantasies: “ohh, he’s come home early to surpise me!”. I try to reign in my thoughts, but those horses have bolted already, and were conjuring up all sorts of scenarios:A rose trail leading to a perfectly set table of teriyaki salmon, wasabi mash, candles and amazing baked cheesecake?? (oh, stop it!)I eventually shut those silly thoughts down. Fast. Especially since what a chop would I be for rocking up empty handed should he have actually done anything(?)
Also…I live in reality. A reality of parenthood. Where the strains and demands of parent life means that certain manifestations of romance fall to the back of the queue sometimes (most times), giving way to the things of necessity. You know, necessary things like just pure survival. And that all the cute and showy heart fluff and amazing dinners have absolutely nothing to do with the actual love that you each have woven around each other.
I mean, it’s nice– don’t get me wrong, and yes, keeping the romance alive is vital to a healthy union- but the pageantry of V-day is certainly no barometer for one’s relationship, I believe. Which is quite a thing for me to say, as I’m the first one to fall for the confetti and trimmings of these kind of holidays – as commercial as they are. In fact, I’m all over it most days because…*celebrate life, yo!*…
And even more when I see that these are opportunities to model certain aspects of life to our children: Valentines Day? Not just for couples, but for every loved one or significant other in your life. Let’s do something to make them feel special! Grandma and Granny: super special women that deserve to have extra confetti thrown on them for all that they have already, and continue to pour into this world…Your school teacher, who is boldly guiding you through a new phase of your life, and re-enforcing the independence within you that your mom and dad have been building up in you all these years. Your god parents? Hell yeah! Your daddy/mommy? Of course!
So all my well laid intentions of handmade bath bombs and cards, cranberry-cookie filled jars finished with just the right frills, and cutely wrapped up sweets seemed perfect, and pretty doable in my mom brain about five days leading up to V-day.
BUT, come the big day, as I found myself laying with pillows propping up my already heavy belly, and cushioning my knees on the couch, I admitted defeat. Because, as with most things whimsical, reality of life often rains down on it, and strips it down to its realest form.
That rose petal trail I had imagined I would walk into? Not even. After fussing about the sweet little crafts the kids did for the day, I wondered upstairs and instead found my hubby fast asleep sprawled out on our bed. And without even feeling a twinge of disappointment, knowing a good idea when I see one, I jumped in right next to him and join in. Except I don’t sleep. Instead I’m hashing out just how the dickens I was going to do this. How was I even going to cook dinner and feed them, let alone pack in kids to catch the sunset, knowing full well that the man snoring next to me, was just as knackered as I am – if that was even possible.
But I’m not going to lie. Even with every bone of reason and logic that I have within me, and how much my body was thanking me for choosing to just rest, I still couldn’t shake the taste of defeat that I kept swallowing everytime I looked at how much of NOTHING we as a couple and as a family were doing for Valentines day. I mean, not even a heart-shape peanut butter sarmie was being served. I wasn’t even half-assing it, guys, there simply wasn’t even a bit of assing at all. And felt frustrated.
So very frustrated. Not with life, not with hubby or kids, but myself. Purely with myself, and my lack of energy to inject some excitement in our home about the holiday, or to even convey some life lessons to the kids that I in my little head felt was important. And mostly, frustrated that I couldn’t make my hubby – the man who’s been bending over backwards for me over the past several months, picking up all my slack during this rather exhausting first trimester- feel loved, spoilt and appreciated for all that he does and sacrifices for us. Yes, I know this is how my body is with every first trimester – its not huge surprise- but that didn’t stop the tears from running down my cheeks as I apologized to him for being, what felt like, dead weight.
I felt like failed. Like I failed everyone. A bit silly, right? Silly how a small thing like V-day can cause the culmunation of rollercoaster emotions into one single defining point…But, as it is in life, there are lessons and reminders being handed to us all the time. Messages of wisdom that the universe whispers to us, if we are only willing to quieten ourselves enough to hear them. This one I recently shared on Instagram, and I think nicely sums up the day, my thoughts, and the gentle reminder I needed about love:
All the best intentions of spreading the love this past Valentines day, and helping my littles learn all small ways to show your loved ones you care, and how the littlest of gestures can actually make someone’s day and feel appreciated. I mean, I’m one big sucker for all this holiday stuff. But in this haze of preggy exhaustion (which I’m getting really bored of complaining about – sorry guys), it just became one more of the many other juggled balls that was dropped.
Instead, we all ended up on the couch – all four of us tangled up in each other. (Five if you count Whiskey, our dog – I always count Whiskey) I may have even spilled a few warm tears of frustration with myself at first, but as they all started piling in next to me, it was that very tangled mess of family on that crayon-stained couch that truly reminded me of the great love that Im a part of. No need for special demonstrations of it. It was just there, in its rawest form. Alive and beating in our home. Wrapping itself sweetly and quietly around all of us, and letting itself be known without pomp &ceremony. It was real and divine. And we are brimming with it.
Oh, and as for those warm tears of frustration spilt? Totally wasted, as my hubby reminded me of the incredible miracle that my body is currently a part of,and how I shouldnt forget just how much strain the body can take during this time – it’s no small feat! ( I know, i Know, but…)…and that we are a TEAM, and I have nothing to apologise for, and that he’s there for me.(I totally bagged a keeper, right?) And with that he climbed in next to me on the couch…right after he got an incredible dinner started in the kitchen that is! (YIP! Totally a keeper, that one! 🙂 )