Valentine’s Day Pressure.
Valentine’s Day is a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure for husbands to bring home something special for wives; boyfriends to make reservations at the hottest place in town; and for moms to make sure the kids have great chocolate for their class-mates (woe to the mother who buys those hearts with sayings on them as the V-Day candy). After 26 years of marriage I’ve given up on Valentine’s Day as an actual romantic day. I’ve come to realize that romance should not be dictated by a date on the calendar and a card company.
I sometimes wonder if my absolution of my husband on Valentine’s Day is just the Stockholm Syndrome in full effect – I identify with my captor and he has just brainwashed me into believing this. But our last 10 years of Valentine’s Days have been all about our children. We end up eating a great meal at home avoiding all the crowds and enjoying hanging together as a family. (The only thing I have not been able to figure out is how to avoid the pink and red explosion that occurs at Wegmans every year because the assault usually begins right after the Super Bowl.)
Instead our romance comes in unexpected ways, like when I arrive late at night from a flight and my husband is there to hug me and help me into the house with my luggage. Or when he washes my car – in and out. Or every morning when he makes me an egg white omelet and turkey bacon and my coffee at 5:00 a.m. (It makes me so happy, I could do him on the counter right then and there if it weren’t for those pesky children.) After 26 years marriage tends to be about cooking, chores, and logistics. To me, romance comes when I’m satisfied in any one of those three categories. My needs are simple.
This year, we had the great pleasure of spending part of our Valentine’s weekend in Skaneateles at an event with the host of the Newlywed Game, Bob Eubanks. Yup, the Bob Eubanks. He was hosting an event called the Not So New Newlywed Game where he shared stories from his career and then played a version of the game. I was surprised by how hard the questions were – and how much intimate information we were asked to reveal in front of a large group. But, I will admit I’m very competitive and we were the longest married couple – it would have been embarrassing to lose – and we didn’t. So I was happy to joke about “making whoopee” but I’m not sure that Bob realized his “whoopee” (sex) is different from my “whoopee” (chores).
This year, my Valentine’s Day gift came early. As we were traveling back from our annual Sherman family weekend in Florida, I literally wanted to rip my husband’s t-shirt off his back. Not because I wanted to ravage him but because I hate that he wears ripped, old t-shirts. When we got to our gate he disappeared for a moment, he came back wearing a different shirt and handed me the old ripped t-shirt. And right there at Gate 18 I ripped it up in front of my children and threw it away. How sexy can you get? Happy Valentine’s Day. May someone vacuum for you too this year.